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Utah geese rounded up to study migration patterns

Posted at 1:57 PM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 11:39:39-04

FARMINGTON, Utah — The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources is rounding up geese in northern Utah in an effort to keep track of their migration patterns.

On Thursday, eight air boats full of volunteers and employees took to the waters of Farmington Bay, all to capture geese in a process known as banding.

“Their flightless, they’ve lost their primary flight feathers and they gather in large groups and they’re easier to catch,” said Rich Hansen of the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources.

This process happens every June while the birds can’t fly.

“ We’ll get on the air boats, probably have four or five people per airboat, two people will be laying down on the front of the airboat and when we pull up on the geese, they typically dive, so you just reach down, pick them up, put them in the cage and then we’ll set up a banding station and put leg bands on them,” said Hansen.

After they’re captured, the geese are taken ashore to have a band put on their leg which helps the DWR track patterns of the Canadian geese.

“We learn mortality rates, survival rates, migration patterns and the time of the year that their harvested the most,” said Hansen.

The DWR started banding Monday and have caught more than 1,100 geese.

“We’ve been banding every year since 1965 in Utah, so we’ve got the longest consecutive banding record in the entire nation,” said Hansen.

Once all of the geese are banded, they are released back into the wild unharmed.