BRMBR Week Two: Geese Catchin'

By far, one of the most fun and wild experiences took place during my second week working at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. The Fish and Wildlife service conducts surveys and bandings on a yearly basis for the Canadian Geese that inhabit the waters of our country. And, to do this, they must first catch them, which is where I came in. First, however, we had to make sure that there were in fact Canadian Geese upon the refuge's wetlands, and thus myself and the refuge's main wildlife biologist, Howard Browers, took the truck around the entire 80,000 acre area and scouted for the birds with binoculars. We didn't see hardly any the entire 8 hours we were out, until the very end of the loop in which, as luck had it, we spotted 300 or more geese. The FWS was called out for the next day.

And how does one catch a Canadian Goose, masters of flight and migration? Why, wait until they molt their flight feathers of course. And how does one catch the birds who reside in water and are masters of swimming? You guessed it: Airboats. So, the SCA and YCC interns geared up in life jackets and googlies and boarded 4 large and powerful airboats, with the intention of catching the elusive birds with bare hands. In order to do this, we were instructed to to lay flat on our stomachs, half hanging over the front of the boat, arms extended to grab any part of the bird possible. While cruising at full speed. Amazing  fun, to say the least.

Upon capture, the geese were loaded into large crates onboard and then brought to shore once max capacity was reached. Each was unloaded one by one, and brought to the professional banders and sex was recorded for each, and  some of which were already banded were recorded again. Each were released, and scrapes treated.

Me and the airboat

Goose Transfer

Living the dream


Learning to band

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