CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- It was a loud scene on Thursday (June 21) as Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) employees and volunteers gathered gaggles of Canada geese in Cape Girardeau County. More than 20 biologists, resource assistants and interns met at Capaha Park, Cape County Park, Rotary Lake in Jackson and the Bent Creek Area to place waterfowl identification bands on the birds.
Onlookers at the city parks were able to take part in the exercise, and even hold some of the geese for the biologists.
This is the second year in a row MDC staff have banded geese in Cape Girardeau County. The purpose is to collect population data and learn how and where the geese migrate year to year. Biologists use the data to measure the birds' movements, as well as mortality, reproduction, harvest and survival rates. MDC plans to recapture the geese each year to record the data and band any new geese. Each goose was released at the same area where it was captured. Though they ruffled their feathers and cackled at the biologists, each was returned to its area safe and sound.
MDC also banded geese earlier this week at Wappapello Lake and Clearwater Lake, along with numerous other locations around the state. Next week, MDC staff will gather geese at Otter Slough Conservation Area, and parks in and around Dexter, Malden and Charleston.
The banding is done this time of year because the geese are molting, which includes losing and then regrowing flight feathers. Mostly flightless, the geese are rounded up by MDC staff and volunteers by boat from lakes and ponds and herded into netted shoots and then corrals for holding before banding and release. MDC staff band about 3,000 Canada geese throughout the state each year.
For more information on waterfowl bands, check out the official U.S. Geological Survey website or visit MDC online to that at mdc.mo.gov.