The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) recognized the winning Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) wood duck and mourning dove banding regions at their Nov. 1 meeting.
Robert Helm, LDWF waterfowl study leader, presented Region 6 wildlife biologist Johnathan Bordelon with the annual wood duck trophy acknowledging that Region 6 had banded more wood ducks than any other of the state's seven regions as part of an intra-departmental competition.
LDWF upland game biologist Mike Olinde presented Region 4 wildlife biologist Lowery Moak with the annual mourning dove trophy signifying that they banded more doves than any other of the state's seven regions.
The Region 6 wood duck banding team, headquartered in Opelousas, was able to band 826 wood ducks this year. Region 6 had previously won the award in 2004 and finished in second place last year. Baton Rouge's Region 7 finished in second place with 800 wood ducks banded, which was actually more than their winning total of 627 wood ducks last year.
The Region 4 mourning dove banding team, headquartered in Ferriday, consisted of Moak, David Breithaupt, Clyde Thompson, Chuck Easterling, Bill Spangler and Jeff Taylor and they banded 1,294 doves this year to edge out Monroe's Region 2 team, last year's winner, who managed to band 1,278 doves.
The department banded a record 2,400 wood ducks this year, which is about 300 more than 2006. The winning region banded almost 200 more than last year's winning region.
"The wood duck banding award was developed five years ago to help combat the previous run of poor results due to droughts by introducing a competitive spirit among the regions," Helm said. "This annual award shows appreciation for the hard work of the banding crew in the winning region and to help promote the program."
LDWF banded over 3,600 mourning doves this year between July 1 and mid-August.
"Louisiana has led the nation in the number of mourning doves banded as part of the national operational banding program the past two years because of the excellent support and efforts by our regional staffs," said Olinde. "Without the mourning dove banding program, the national harvest management plan would be next to impossible to implement."
Banding provides essential information used to calculate the population parameters such as survival rates and distribution patterns of these native waterfowl and upland game species. Due to their use of wooded swamps and sloughs, wood duck populations are very difficult to monitor using traditional survey techniques, making banding the most important management tool.