IDFG volunteers, technicians band 700 birds in North Idaho WMAs

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Photo courtesy of IDFG Idaho Fish and Game volunteers and technicians identify a green-winged teal as part of an annual banding week in which 700 waterfowl were banded at WMAs in North Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game volunteers and technicians banded more than 700 birds recently as part of an ongoing state waterfowl study.

The majority of the waterfowl banded were mallards, but the crew also caught wood ducks, cinnamon teal, green-winged teal, northern pintails, and ring-necked ducks over the course of a week at Boundary Smith Creek, McArthur Lake, and Coeur d’Alene River wildlife management areas.

The ducks were captured using swim-in traps baited with corn and barley.

“Once they are taken out of the trap, they are identified by species, age and sex is recorded, and then they receive their band,” said wildlife technician Britta Petersen.

The aluminum bands are stamped with eight or nine digit numbers that hunters who harvest or find the birds should report to the Bird Banding Lab at www.reportband.gov.

The data is used to inform biologists about waterfowl breeding and wintering distribution, survival and reproduction, and migration routes.

“There are over 200,000 ducks banded in North America per year and with 700 banded locally, there are a lot of birds out there wearing bracelets,” Petersen said. “With waterfowl season right around the corner, hunters should make sure to check those duck legs for bling.”

The waterfowl season in North Idaho runs from Oct. 13 to Jan. 25. Scaup season is Nov. 1 to Jan. 25. Check IDFGs website for waterfowl hunting information.

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