Arkansas Game and Fish Commission band geese to track migration

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are traveling across the state to corral and band geese. They do this for about a month each year when geese can’t fly.​

Waterfowl program coordinator, Luke Naylor, said every year in June, Canada Geese go through what’s called a molt.​

“Those flight feathers, about ten primaries, they are all gone. So they’re flightless,” Naylor said.​​

While they are grounded, Arkansas Game and Fish travels across the state, rounds them up and gets them banded. Sometimes Naylor and his crew get lucky and the flock is already on land. Other times, however, they have to hit the water and get creative using small remote controlled boats.​

“Launch those boats and pretty quickly move geese around. They really don’t like them,” Naylor said.

​​Once they are in the pen, the field biologists take a look at each one identifying the sex and recording the number. This information will go in their system. Once bird season rolls around, hunters can send in that band number online.​

“Then we learn where we banded it, where it was harvested. It gets us an idea of harvest rates, survival rates, movement of birds throughout the state or the country,” Naylor said.

Typically they band about 1500 geese per year. This year Naylor said they are working with smaller crews so only expect to band about 1200.

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