20 June 2011 – 24 June 2011
This was a cloudy and gloomy week. There were scattered rain showers throughout the week and very little sun. Once you get past the weather, it turned out to be a fantastic week.
Early in the week I helped the DNR band geese. That was a lot of fun and something that I had never done before. We drove around a few predetermined lakes/ponds (ones that were known for having 20+ geese on them). Once the geese were located, a couple people would flush geese off of the beach and into the water. After the geese were swimming, three small boats would corral them to keep the geese from splitting up. Then the boats would herd the birds to a funnel trap. To keep the geese from the going ashore before they reached the trap, one person would walk the shore line making sure the geese stayed in the water. When the geese were finally pushed to the trap, the person on shore would back off and the boats would herd the geese into the funnel trap. Once the geese were in the corral it was like an old fashion cattle branding (instead of a brand we gave the geese a USFWS band). With a couple people in the pen catching the geese by hand then passing them to the people outside the pen so that the goose could be aged, sexed and then banded. After a goose had received a band it was released unharmed.
When it was all said and done over 100 geese had new bands. These bands are important for the DNR to understand migration patterns, population trends and helps determine bag limits.
When I wasn’t banding I was back in the field collecting more habitat data for the Prairie Chickens (using the new protocol). With it being such a cool week, there were a ton of animals that were active during the day. I saw a short eared owl, some bobolinks, eastern kingbirds, dickcissels, jumping mice and some voles. With the fields filled with flowers, the bees and wasps were abundant.