Banded Greenhead Surprises Waterfowler With Its Travels

Banded Greenhead Surprises Waterfowler With Its Travels
In 2015, Todd Elzie harvested a banded mallard (band #1757-37011) in Henning, Tenn. To his surprise, the mallard was banded in Orwood, Calif. and was at least 10 years old! (Photo courtesy Wildfowl Magazine)

Guess California girls are sought after by greenheads too

A Tennessee waterfowler is amazed when he learns the branding location of a greenhead he harvested on Christmas Eve in 2015. (Photo courtesy Wildfowl Magazine)


Taking a greenhead in the southern Mississippi Flyway is hardly unusual. After all, each fall the greatest concentration of migratory mallards in North America funnels through the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, which extends roughly from southern Illinois to the Mississippi Delta. Even a banded mallard it not terribly unusual as researchers continually study our most populous duck. But Tennessee waterfowler Todd Elzie managed to find a rather interesting specimen last year.



Mild temperatures that had plagued eastern waterfowlers all fall persisted right into December and though a big storm had recently moved across the country, Christmas Eve was a bluebird day in west Tennessee.

"My son Brandon and I were hunting together on a local river as we do quite regularly," Elzie began, "hunting from a blind where he had taken a banded hen mallard the week before."


Despite less than favorable weather, the duo had already shot three wood ducks when three mallards pitched toward their spread and worked directly into the decoys.  Elzie called the shot and after the shooting was done all three birds were down.


In 2015, Todd Elzie harvested a banded mallard (band #1757-37011) in Henning, Tenn. To his surprise, the mallard was banded in Orwood, Calif. and was at least 10 years old! (Photo courtesy Wildfowl Magazine)

They boated out to retrieve the ducks, picking up Brandon's two first, followed by Todd's greenhead. "When we put it in the boat I immediately saw the band. What a Christmas present!" he said. The following week Brandon took yet another banded mallard out of the same blind, but neither of his was as interesting as the one his father collected.

"When I received the information on the recovery," Elzie said, "I was quite surprised to see that the bird came from California, and was at least 10 years old. I have been fortunate enough to take several banded birds but this is the first one I've had travel so far east."

He speculated it might have been carried east on the storm, which is certainly a possibility. Or perhaps somewhere over his 10-year lifespan that old greenhead hooked up with a California girl and followed her home. Either way, it makes for an interesting tale.

Recommended for You

Keep your retriever sharp in the offseason. Retriever

Waterfowl Workouts: 3 Summer Duck Dog Drills

Tony J. Peterson

Keep your retriever sharp in the offseason.

See how this new line performed in the field! Clothing & Waders

Field Tested: Sitka Women's Waterfowl System

Emily Kantner - July 19, 2019

See how this new line performed in the field!

A dainty English setter suited for the uplands has the drive for waterfowl. Stories

The Accidental Duck Dog

Jack Ballard

A dainty English setter suited for the uplands has the drive for waterfowl.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Franchi 12-Gauge Affinity Semiauto Shotgun

Franchi 12-Gauge Affinity Semiauto Shotgun

Craig Boddington and Eric Poole take a look at the new modern Franchi Affinity shotgun.

Picking a Puppy

Picking a Puppy

Wildfowl contributor Mark Romanack shares advice about choosing your next retriever.

Browning A5 Shotgun -

Browning A5 Shotgun - 'Gun Stories'

Gun Stories host Joe Mantegna talks about the origin and history of the Browning A5 shotgun.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter from How-To

Building a Duck Boat Blind on a Budget

Mike Marsh - May 10, 2016

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter...

SITKA Gear waterfowl product manager Jim Saubier shows off the Bozeman, Montana company's full line-up of women's waterfowl hunting gear for 2019. From warm and moisture wicking base layers to water and windproof outer layers, this is a complete system for women who love to chase fall and wintertime ducks and geese across the four flyways! Clothing & Waders

New SITKA Women's Waterfowl Lineup for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

SITKA Gear waterfowl product manager Jim Saubier shows off the Bozeman, Montana company's full...

Author John M. Taylor has broken down the top waterfowl shotguns for the 2018 season. Shotguns

Best Waterfowl Shotguns of 2018

John Taylor - September 25, 2018

Author John M. Taylor has broken down the top waterfowl shotguns for the 2018 season.

See More Stories

More Band Tales

          Every marked bird carries a story of passage    By Bob Humphrey    Matthew Finley shot Band Tales

Bands Of Silver

Bob Humphrey - November 03, 2010

Every marked bird carries a story of passage By Bob Humphrey Matthew Finley...

          A hunter kills a matched pair of geese in consecutive seasons.    By Bob Humphrey    Over Band Tales

Band Tales: One Year Apart

Bob Humphrey - February 09, 2011

A hunter kills a matched pair of geese in consecutive seasons. By Bob Humphrey ...

A late December forecast for highs in the 70s almost coaxed Kenneth Mullins to turn off the alarm Band Tales

Band Tales: Summer in December

Bob Humphrey - November 22, 2016

A late December forecast for highs in the 70s almost coaxed Kenneth Mullins to turn off the...

See More Band Tales

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×