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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Duck Banding on the Prairies, Update 9/7/10

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Much like the mailman DU’s duck banders in North Dakota continue to work through the intense summer heat, strong winds, torrential rainstorms and an occasional beautiful, delightful day. An update on banding at the three locations follows:

Lake Ilo NWR (through Sunday, September 5)

Mallards                        291
Wood Ducks                  16
Gadwall                        145
Wigeon                         39
Green-winged Teal         22
Blue-winged Teal           364
Shovelers                       2
Pintails                         31
Redhead                         1
Canvasback                    1
Scaup                             2
Ruddy Duck                    1
Total                             915

Duck numbers are relative low at Lake Ilo. A combination of good water on the landscape that provides many locations for ducks to frequent and low food availability in Lake Ilo are possible reasons for the low number of waterfowl using Lake Ilo late this summer.

Audubon WMD (through Sunday, September 5)

Mallards                           65
Wigeon                              8
Green-winged Teal              3
Blue-winged Teal           1,845    
Shovelers                          3
Pintails                             50
Redheads                        130
Canvasbacks                    19     
Scaup                               22
Bufflehead                         1                             
Ruddy Duck                       3     
Total                             2,149

The Missouri Coteau produces large numbers of blue-winged teal. As they migrate south, bluewings use Missouri Coteau wetlands extensively and are relatively easy to capture in swim-in traps. Diving duck numbers are good, especially redheads; 105 of the 130 bandings have been hatch-year birds and 18 have been after-hatch-year females indicating that the hens nested in the Missouri Coteau wetlands in or near where we are trapping.

Coteau Ranch (through Saturday, September 4)

Mallards                           51
Gadwall                           32
Wigeon                             20
Green-winged Teal            10
Blue-winged Teal           3,822
Shovelers                           8
Pintails                            109
Redheads                          53
Canvasbacks                      3
Scaup                                 9    
Ruddy Ducks                      5       
Total                             4,122

Again, the attractiveness of the Missouri Coteau wetlands to blue-winged teal is evident.  This crew was limited to banding only 50 bluewings daily during late August. They are banding 100 blue-winged teal daily in September. The banding sample is adequate, so we don’t need to band excessive numbers of bluewings in one area.
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