Annual duck banding night held Sept. 8.

One hundred and twenty visitors - many of them kids - showed up at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) southeast of Middle River for the annual Public Duck Banding Night on Saturday, September 8.

Those anticipating a good, fun hands-on learning experience got what they came for, but not before having to endure a bit of a wait. The ducks were slow to cooperate at the Refuge's Parker Pool banding site, due in part to tremendous winds and also a pair of bald eagles that had keyed in on the site as a possible easy meal and were repeatedly harassing incoming ducks.

Eventually, Refuge staff fired off their rocket nets and captured just over 100 mallards, which resulted in everyone who wanted to handle a duck getting the chance. Several participants were 'repeat' banders who simply can't get enough of this unique opportunity. Participants not only got a chance to handle ducks, but also learned the finer points of aging and sexing them, as well as taking biological samples for avian influenza research.

All of the kids involved in this event took home an "Agassiz Banding Team" metal leg band and a certificate showing that they helped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band a duck.

Agassiz NWR bands more than 1,500 ducks (mostly mallards) each September, with the primary purpose of the banding program being the collection of data (in the form of banded ducks) which helps determine annual hunting season regulations.

Furbearer trapping program announced
Limited furbearer trapping opportunities are available by bid at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. Application bid forms, refuge regulations, refuge maps and other information are available at refuge headquarters or upon request. A total of 4 trapping units will be awarded to trappers through a sealed bid system. Applicants make a sealed monetary bid for their preferred units. Only one unit will be awarded to each trapper. Bids must be received by Friday, October 12. All successful bids require full payment no later than Friday, October 19. Minimum bids are $40.00 per unit. Applicants interested in bidding are not to include payment with their bid. Applicants must have appropriate state trapping and small game licenses. Successful applicants will be notified by Wednesday, October 17.

Inspection (scouting) of the trapping units will be allowed between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 9 through Friday, October 12.

Additional information can be obtained from Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, 22996 290th Street NE, Middle River, Minnesota 56737 or by calling (218) 449-4115, extension 204.

For more information on the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visit

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