Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An old, old, Brant

Back in 2000 when I started Brant monitoring, yellow leg bands were one of the more numerous colors we encountered. This isn't surprising. In the five years prior to the year 2000, almost 8000 Brant were banded with yellow leg bands, which featured a unique, three digit alpha-numeric code. Now, over 10 years after the last yellow bands were applied, they are getting to be fairly rare. Well, today, for the first time this season, I saw a Brant with a yellow leg band. The code read, "VGL". Although I don't have specific banding information for this individual, I do know that the "V" series of bands was applied to Brant nesting on the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta in western Alaska, in 1989. That makes this bird over 21 years old at a minimum, and if it were banded as an adult, even older. This bird has been seen in the Parksville - Qualicum Wildlife Management Area most Springs since at least 1993. I have seen this bird dozens of times myself, since 2000. As this will be my last year monitoring Brant in this area, I likely will not see Yellow VGL again, regardless of whether it survives another year, and continues to make the epic flights between Mexico and Alaska. But I hope it does. With all my heart.

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