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Black Brant band recovery data Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve 12/07/2019

Jacksnipe
 

On Saturday 12/07/2019 while at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach, there was a large flock of Brant (300+ birds) loafing and feeding on eel grass in the full tidal basin of the reserve. While waiting for the Mountain Plover to show up, I looked through the Brant flock loafing on the sandbar nearest the lookout point and was able to read several plastic leg bands on the geese that had alpha numeric codes on them. Most of the plastic bands were light green with white codes, and one bird had a yellow plastic band with a black code. I noticed that all of the green/white banded birds were in a rather tight group, suspecting either mated pairs and/or family groups. Having spent four winters in the Central Valley of California reading leg and neck bands on Aleutian Canada Geese in the mid-late 1980s (before they were split into Cackling Geese), I was excited to see these bands, report them and then try to interpret the data. I received the banding data back from the USGS (www.reportband.gov) which reported the following:

  1. Adult female (Green/white 7+V) Banded 07/26/2019 near Nuisquit, North Slope Borough, Alaska
  2. Adult male (Green/white Z+T) Banded 07/26/2019 near Nuisquit, North Slope Borough, Alaska
  3. Adult female (Green/white 4+0) Banded 07/26/2019 near Nuisquit, North Slope Borough, Alaska
  4. Hatch-year female (Green/white 5+T) Banded 07/26/2019 near Nuisquit, North Slope Borough, Alaska
  5.  Hatch-year male (Green/white 3+K) Banded 07/26/2019 near Nuisquit, North Slope Borough, Alaska
  6.  Hatch-year male (Green/white 0+7) Banded 07/26/2019 near Nuisquit, North Slope Borough, Alaska
  7.   Hatch-year male (Green/white T+S) Banded 07/26/2019 near Nuisquit, North Slope Borough, Alaska
  8.   Adult male (Green/white 78G) Banded 07/31/2014 as an adult near Nuisquit, North Slope Borough, Alaska
  9.   Adult male (Yellow/black 3-7) Banded 7/12/2014 as an adult near Chevak, Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska

Notable takeaways (for me) from this recovery data is that 8 of the nine birds were banded on the same date and location on the North Slope area of Alaska (Nuisquit is roughly half way between Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow) and Prudhoe Bay) while the Yellow/black banded bird was from an entirely different area in Western Alaska (Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta area), and that six of the eight birds were likely a family group banded together, since we know that adult Branta geese travel with their young on their first migration. 

Hopefully you find this information interesting and it will inspire you to collect and report banding information.

Robert McNab
Laguna Niguel, CA

Ben Newhouse
 

Reporting banded birds is interesting and fun.  I encountered two banded hawks this fall.  The info was not as romantic as Brants banded in Alaska, but interesting nonetheless.  I add the info to ebird reports when I get it, just in case it’s useful/interesting to someone someday.

 

One was a Red Tail hawk banded in San Diego County near Palomar Mountain.  It’s a second year bird.  I saw it on the edge of the Seal Beach NWS property by the 405, which is roughly 80 miles from Palomar Mountain.  

 

https://ebird.org/checklist/S60446412

 

The other was a Cooper’s Hawk.  It was captured near the Van Nuys airport, banded, and released in Claremont CA as part of a program to keep birds away from airplanes.  All of that was September 25, 2018.  I saw it at Arbor Park a year later on September 16, 2019.  Of course, Arbor Park is right next to the Joint Forces Base in Los Alamitos, which has a lot of airplanes coming and going.  So I guess this bird just likes airports.

 

https://ebird.org/checklist/S59864471

 

Anyway…  It is indeed interesting to get a sense for their life stories.

 

Happy birding all…

 

Ben Newhouse

Seal Beach, CA