Students at U of M Crookston assist Staff at the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge Banding Ducks; Opportunity provides Beneficial Hands-on-Experience
Students from the University of Minnesota, Crookston assisted staff at the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) banding ducks as part of the nationwide effort to assess he survival and migration patterns of waterfowl in North America.
The ANWR is charged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) with banding 1200 Mallards in four groups including adults vs. the young of the year and males vs. females for a total of 300 in each group. The banding effort in northern Minnesota permits the USFWS to document the migration patterns and timing of the banded birds as well as estimate survival for each of the banded age/gender groups.
Banding data is important to understanding bird ecology and gathering feedback for determining management actions by wildlife professionals. It also is significant in monitoring the status of bird populations particularly for those populations that might be threatened. Bands on ducks taken by hunters are typically recovered and reported assisting the USFWS efforts in tracking. The public is encouraged to report any bands found to the Bird Banding Laboratory at 1-800-327-BAND (2263) and include the bird species, date, and location.
Associate Professor John Loegering serves as an advisor to the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society on the Crookston campus as well as teaching a fall semester course in wildlife ecology and management. Most of the students participating are either members of the Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society or Loegering's wildlife ecology class.
Loegering attests to the benefit this opportunity provides students in natural resources. "The duck banding trip is intended to teach students about a small part of a huge monitoring system, offer them practical hands-on banding experience, and give them an opportunity to interact with staff from the federal agency that employs many of our graduates. Other than departing the Owen Hall parking lot at 4:15 a.m., it is a fabulous experience."
The captured ducks are nearly all mallards, but they do catch an occasional Northern Pintail or Wood Duck. Most ducks are all in their 'eclipse' phase akin to other birds winter plumage - their coloring is drab, rather than the colorful plumage one would expect. For mallards, this period lasts a few weeks to a few months.
To learn more about the natural resources degree program, visit www.umcrookston.edu/academics/agri.
Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.
In the photos:
Top, left: Jenny DuBay, a junior majoring in wildlife management from Apple Valley, Minn., holds a male mallard at the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge where the duck banding took place.
Bottom, right: Brett Kupferschmid, a junior majoring in natural resources from Perham,Minn., holds a female mallard in preparation for release after banding.