On December 21, 2009, a somewhat catching opportunity excited a most amazing result. A mallard twosome were feeding just around a small point and found themselves the subject of one dedicated pursuit. Finally, after crawling for almost one half hour and finding the narrowest of shooting lanes, I timed the happy pair and cast my steel shot through that small opening. A drake and hen mallard remained motionless on the calm sea waiting for a quick retrieval that left me one inch to spare on my new chest waders.
With both in hand, I pressed onward to the end of the point to meet my father who had already set up bufflehead decoys. He inquired about my single shot which prompted a visual retort of two mallards. It wasn't until we finished our day with a mixed bag of goldeneye, bufflehead, black duck, mallard, and teal would I realize the magnitude of the drake mallard. As we readied the sled and prepared for our short jaunt back to the truck, I caught the shine.
A variety of banded eiders have been part of my collection with a goose & bufflehead gifted from my dad, but never have I encountered a banded mallard. Without haste I raced to the house, called my taxidermist, and readied the duck for transport. In the excitement, I failed to write down the numbers on the band.
This past week, the finished mallard made its way Downeast. I'm very pleased with the quality and took the time to register the duck with the Bird Band Laboratory online. The results:
Date banded: 08/30/2007
Banding Location: OROMOCTO, NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA
Age: HATCHED IN 2007
Oromocto is just southeast of Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Have a great day,
The Downeast Duck Hunter