Biologists are banding hundreds of Canada geese across the state of Kentucky. They spent Monday morning at Paducah's Noble Park Lake banding the geese that call it home, all in an effort to learn more about where they travel, how they live, and how they die.
"He don't like to be held," one of the wildlife biologists with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Migratory Bird Program joked as a Canada goose honked in protest.
"Watch his head!" another said.
It's a bit of a struggle to round up and band the Canada geese in Noble Park, but because the birds are molting right now and unable to fly, this is the best time for banding.
"We go to places where there's pretty good concentrations of birds where we can get a number of birds at one time," Wildlife Biologist John Brunjes explained.
Noble Park is one of those places, with about 200 Canada geese calling the park's lake home. Across the state, these biologists will band 1,000 birds. It's part of a national program to track them. Each bird has a metal band placed around its leg with a special number.
"Helping them?" asked Danielle Schoot, as one of the biologists shows her and her sister Sophie a goose.
"Helping them, yes!" he said.
"That is so soft," Sophie said, petting the goose.
"It's a teaching moment," Brunjes told Local 6. "I know a number of kids that we'll hear from next year, 'Can we come back next year?' And they'll come year after year to watch the process."
What does this process teach us? We already know these birds of a feather flock together. Now, though, Brunjes says ,we know where: all the way to Canada and the Arctic Circle.
"We know how long they live. We know how many are harvested by hunters. We know other ways that birds die," Brunjes said.
Biologists have already learned most of the Canada geese from Kentucky that are about a year old spend their summers in either James Bay or Hudson Bay in Canada. Once they begin breeding, they stay in Kentucky.