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

Take it from a pro: Less is more. For Dogs

Dog Discipline Tips & Gear

Joe Genzel - June 20, 2019

Take it from a pro: Less is more.

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.

The sweet, tangy flavor of orange juice combined with spicy jalapeños in this duck recipe will have your taste buds screaming for more. Recipes

Sweet Jalapeño Grilled Duck Recipe

Scott Leysath, "The Sporting Chef"

The sweet, tangy flavor of orange juice combined with spicy jalapeños in this duck recipe will...

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.

Browning A5 Shotgun -

Browning A5 Shotgun - 'Gun Stories'

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

Puppy Training Getting Started

Puppy Training Getting Started

Puppy Training Getting Started

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads Ammo

11 Best New Shotshell Loads For Waterfowl

Wildfowl Online Staff - August 17, 2017

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer.

Of course, it Boats

8 Best Mud Motors for 2016

David Hart - May 26, 2016

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer. Of course,...

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call. Calls

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during...

See More Stories

More Band Tales

An afternoon hunt nets an international goose Band Tales

Better Late Than Never

Bob Humphrey - November 03, 2010

An afternoon hunt nets an international goose

          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 ...

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.

×