Thursday, September 5, 2013

History of a Banded Blue Goose

Banded Blue Goose, by Laurie Lawler (click image to view in full)
In the autumn of 2012, Laurie Lawler, who is a photographer and frequent visitor to Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, spotted and photographed a banded Blue Goose at the Refuge.   Laurie says, “Jack Chiles advised me how to report the band. I was excited when I got this certificate [last week] by email (shown below). I thought it was so cool and was surprised to see the goose's age.”

Click image to view in full.
The certificate not only shows the age of the bird and date of the banding and the sighting, but the locations where the banding  was done and where the band was later found, leaving it up to the imagination to envision the years of semi-annual migration flights along the Central flyway between both locations.

According to the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory bird banding has a long history. “ The first record of a metal band attached to a bird's leg was about 1595 when one of Henry IV's banded Peregrine Falcons was lost in pursuit of a bustard in France. It showed up 24 hours later in Malta, about 1350 miles away, averaging 56 miles an hour!”  Through a banding in about 1669, a Grey Heron was found later to have lived at least 60 years.  Another Grey Heron was found to have traveled more than 1200 miles, from Turkey to Germany.

John James Audubon first reported banding and retrieval  in America in 1803.  In 1899 a bird banding system was developed in Denmark that is the model for modern banding programs.  In 1920 the Bureau of Biological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service took over previous efforts  in the U.S. and Canada and the North American banding program has been a joint effort to oversee the activities of dedicated banders all over the world ever since.

Laurie reported the band seen on the Blue Goose on this website:

Anyone reporting will be asked to answer multiple choice questions regarding their role (individual, bander, wildlife official), type band, etc., as well as species, if known and other details.  Those reporting will receive a certificate of appreciation like Laurie’s.  Reporting bands adds to the ability of scientists to study bird migration, populations, longevity and more.

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