Tens of thousands of waterfowl are marked each year with leg bands. This effort includes banding programs from the coast of Louisiana to the plains of the Dakotas to the Arctic breeding grounds of geese and eiders. Every summer, Ducks Unlimited operates waterfowl banding crews at stations in the Prairie Pothole Region
of North and South Dakota.
In simple terms, recovery of leg bands helps us to estimate survival probability of banded waterfowl by indicating how many birds died. Not all leg-banded birds that are killed are recovered and reported to the Bird Banding Laboratory because some birds are not retrieved, or if retrieved, are not reported.
This loss of information reduces precision or confidence in an estimate. We can improve precision by increasing both recovery and reporting rates.
Hunting with a well-trained retriever
will help reduce crippling loss and therefore improve recovery rates. Calling your band number in to the Bird Banding Laboratory (800-327-BAND)
or reporting your band online
will improve reporting rates.
Waterfowl Band Returns | Interesting Band Stories