The USFWS uses reward bands to increase the likelihood that hunters will return bands. Rewards commonly range up to $100. If you shoot a bird with a regular band on one leg and a green band on the other, congratulations, your duck hunting is paying for itself.
Banding birds as chicks makes it possible to determine their age. The oldest known wild duck was a 291⁄2-year-old canvasback.
Since 1977, there have been 16 pintails banded in Japan that were shot in California—5,000 miles away.
More than a million birds are banded annually. Only about 6 percent of those bands are ever recovered.
A bluewing teal banded near Oak Lake, Manitoba, was shot near Lima, Peru, having flown 4,000 miles south.
The oldest recovered goose band was taken in Ontario—33 years and three months after the bird was banded.
In 1962, Ontario hunter Dr. Stan Chace shot a banded goose. Two months later in the season, he shot another. After comparing the two bands, he realized they were consecutively numbered—518-31661 and 518-31662.
About one year after a pintail from the Northwest Territories was banded, it was found in the stomach of a Florida alligator.
About 80 percent of banded waterfowl shot by hunters are reported to the Bird Banding Laboratory.
The most commonly banded diving duck is a lesser scaup, at 350,000. Redheads come in second, at 270,000.
In the 1950s, biologists in Canada used retrievers to catch young mallards on nesting grounds for banding.
One black duck was captured 18 times during a nine-year stretch in the banding traps of the Michigan DNR.