Wood Duck Banding and Nesting
EAGLE BLUFFS CONSERVATION AREA is a 4,269-acre, wildlife oasis just six miles southwest of Columbia, at the confluence of the Missouri River and Perche Creek. With funds made available by the Conservation sales tax, the Conservation Department was able to purchase the area in 1989 and has developed it as a wetland. It opened for public use in October 1995 and has developed it as a wetland. It opened for public use in October 1995. Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is unique in that the water for wetland habitat management on the area starts as effluent from the City of Columbia. The water cleans up as it passes through the city's four wastewater treatment wetlands. By the time it arrives at Eagle Bluffs, located next door to the treatment facility, the water is pollution-free.
Eagle Bluffs is an important feeding and sheltering spot for migrating waterfowl and water birds. Naturally, one of the most popular activities here is waterfowl hunting. People also visit the area to dove hunt, archery deer hunt, fish, hike, take pictures, study nature and view wildlife.
The area's high duck population and proximity to a large population center also provide a unique opportunity to get people who love nature and the outdoors involved in an important waterfowl study.
Volunteers at Eagle Bluffs have been working with the area's wood duck population since 1998.
In 1997, only Conservation Department employees were involved in the wood duck trapping and banding program. The banding program provides data for estimating survival rates, band recovery rates, harvest rates and harvest distribution. Banding wood ducks also provides the Conservation Department and other agencies with long-term data on migration routes, as well as data from breeding and wintering areas.
The trapping method used then is known as brood trapping, which involves time-consuming and sometimes strenuous work. Brood traps are floating traps that allow wood ducks to enter through several open doors. Once inside, the birds are unable to exit due to the intricate construction of the doors.
Workers banded 109 wood ducks by the end of 1997. Because of this success, the Conservation Department selected the area to be a wood duck banding quota area. Maintaining this status meant that each year, starting in 1998, at least 100 birds had to be banded.
The staff at Eagle Bluffs decided that the program offered a chance to enlist volunteers to assist them in trapping and banding