Chesterton Tribune

DNR: Report bird band information

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The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is asking persons who come across Canada Geese, Mourning Doves, or Wood Ducks which have been banded--and who are in a position to read the bands--to report that information to the national Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL).

According to a statement released by the DNR on Tuesday, reports can be filed by calling (800) 327-BAND or by going on line at

 The data collected are compiled by the BBL and sent to program participants twice a year.

“When we band geese, we attach an aluminum band to one leg,” said DNR waterfowl biologist Adam Phelps. “Since each band has a unique number on it, this allows biologists to identify each bird that has ever been banded, if it is captured again or harvested by a hunter.”

When the DNR bands a bird, it plots on a map the location where the bird was banded, the statement said. If the bird is caught again the following year, harvested by a hunter, hit by a car, or if a birder reader the band number through binoculars--and if the person reports the band--the program has another point on a map for that bird.

“Two points give us a line,” Phelps said. “With thousands of such lines, we can develop movement patterns for these geese or other birds.”

Indiana’s breeding geese move around much more than most people think, the statement said. Birds banded in June in Indiana have been harvested by hunters from Idaho to Delaware, and from Hudson Bay in Canada to Alabama.

“Bird banding provides more than information on movement patterns,” the statement said. “With enough reported bands, biologists can determine survival rates and harvest rates (the rate at which geese are taken by hunters.”

Program data from 1986-2997 suggest that hunters take a high proportion of geese that are relocated from urban areas to Fish and Wildlife Areas, the statement said. “This means that moving birds from places where they conflict with humans to FWAs is likely to be an effective strategy for reducing these populations. Because these species of birds are migratory, jurisdiction for their management lies with the federal government. The BBL, a federal agency within the U.S. Geological Survey, is responsible for the management of all migratory bird banding in the U.S.”



Posted 8/12/2009