Thursday, March 3, 2011

Banded Goose Info

While visiting the Gilbert Water Ranch in Arizona in January, I photographed a pair of Canada Geese that had metal leg bands and plastic collars.  The collars were easily readable, so I submitted them to USGS.  Reporting banded birds is important to help track bird movement patterns.  Its also fun and interesting when they send you back a certificate with what they know of that particular bird.
Kind of a funny looking face that C88 is making.  Not to worry folks...the collar isn't choking the goose.  I have several other photos of it and it looks just fine. I just happened to get a photo of it sticking his tongue out at me.
C51 was right there near C88

I assume that C51 was banded at the same time and at the same place as C88.  So, while I hoped to uncover some long distance migration story, it turned out that they had migrated from the north to the south...all the way south from Scottsdale, AZ to Gilbert, AZ, a whopping 15 miles or so as the Goose flys.

Regardless of the lack of migrating distance drama, it is still interesting.  The geese were banded a year and half ago by the Arizona Game & Fish Department.  I have read that many Canada Geese are year-round residents and don't migrate.  I suppose if these geese were still in the scorching heat of Phoenix in June when they were banded, they would have to be residents.  I'd like to invite them to enjoy a cooler summer in Utah or Idaho.

I recently found another banded Canada Goose in my new Patch.  I was only able to see the numbers 8-1626 on the leg band.  USGS sent me a note back that they were unable to find its banding history based on the partial number.  Bummer!

So folks, next time you are out birding and see a banded, tagged, or collared bird, try and get that number and report it.  The banders will appreciate it and you can enjoy learning about it too.


  1. Related post about collared Swans from AK to Idaho from my friend Cheryl to IBLE:

    Hi Birders,
    While birding at the New Plymouth Sewage Lagoon last Sunday, I noticed three (out of the approx. 100 there) Tundra Swans with collars. I got the numbers as well as I could and then called Rod Drewien with the info. Rod and his wife, Ruth Shea (who is with the Trumpeter Swan Society) are the go-to people for Swans, Cranes, Geese and all waterfowl. Rod said he would check out the collars himself and then call Craig Ely, a friend of his in Alaska who has done Tundra Swan banding for a long time. He called me back today to let me know what he found out.
    K311 - a male and banded on 7/20/09 at the YK Delta near Bethel, AK.
    P961 and P988 are a pair with 961 a male banded on 7/18/10 and 988 a female banded on 7/19/10, both at King Salmon, AK.
    All parties were happy to get the readings. Rod stressed that that anyone finding a collared Swan to be sure to let him or Ruth know. That way banding serves its purpose. Contact them at
    Read the blue bands from the bottom to the top with the bottom a letter turned sideways and followed by 3 digits. If you can't read the band let them know where the swan is located and perhaps they can get over to read it themselves.
    Happy Birding!
    Cheryl Huizinga
    Caldwell, ID

  2. Robert,

    I always report banded birds when I can get a decent shot of the band. I find it very interesting to get the information back that is sent. I think my most interesting banded bird report was a Red Knot that was 12 years old!

  3. @Mia - I am reading about Red Knots right now in BirdWatching magazine. Pretty amazing biology of those birds for their migration. They also reported a bird that was at least 25 years old. They say the average is closer to 8 year life spans, so yours was well older than average.

  4. made me laugh out loud when I went back to look at C88s face...too funny with the tongue lolling out. Thanks for this's awesome. I have some photos of shorebirds with clearly marked leg rings. I'll submit them.

  5. @Kelly - I'd love to hear what you find out about your shorebirds! The color codes on shorebirds should identify them without even having to see numbers.

  6. Robert, I had no idea who to report banded birds to! Where do you find the info? Also, does this apply to gulls with wing tags? I saw some of them this winter and photographed them too. It would be nice to report them.

    As for the geese with the neck collars, I am all for science and gaining knowledge but it still looks uncomfortable to me and I always feel bad for birds and mammals when I see those big, clunky bands or tracking collars.