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Fish & Game officers quack a few duck secrets

Fish & Game officers quack a few duck secrets

North Island mallard ducks are voicing a few mild protest quacks as they’re examined in large numbers.

Fish & Game’s annual summer banding work is well underway in the Bay of Plenty and East Coast, Hawkes Bay and Wellington.

Fish & Game’s annual summer banding work is well underway in the Bay of Plenty and East Coast, Hawkes Bay and Wellington.

The birds are captured in baited traps and coded bands are attached to a leg (a different leg for male and female) before they’re released. Areas which come under the strongest hunting pressure are normally trapped more intensively. Staff from the Ministry for Primary Industries use the banding sessions as an opportunity to test the birds for diseases such as avian ‘flu.

Eastern Senior Fish & Game officer Matthew Mc Dougall says the banding information that hunters send in provides some crucial data but of course, it isn’t looked at in isolation. “It’s just one of the tools we are using to help assess what the different populations are doing, especially now that other projects such as tracking are underway.”

He says the banding provides data such as age and sex, the ratio of young birds to adults. Mr Mc Dougall says as always, Fish & Game is calling on hunters to return the band information from birds they shoot, once the season gets underway on the first Saturday in May.


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