Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Death and Dying

Conservation, Critters, Family, Roadside Curiosities, Strange But True

Early one morning last week I stopped to visit my dad on the way to the day job.

Dad's in hospice care now and It's handy that St. Camillus is on the way to and from work.

I parked the car and approached the entrance and was mildly startled to find a dead mallard at the end of the ramp. 

Much to the chagrin of the people at the day care center next door the fella with a freshly laundered and pressed, button-down collar shirt with silk tie and sport coat gave the bird a quick most-mortem exam.  It looked to me that he had been largely consumed the previous evening by whatever predators lurk around there.

It was one dead duck for sure.  And it had a band on its leg.

I thought - Imagine finding a dead duck when visiting your dying dad.  How weird is that?

I pried the band from the decedent's leg and pocketed it - then went about my business of visiting with the dying.

Later that morning I got to thinking about the origins of the duck.  I haven't hunted ducks in more than two and a half decades and never recovered a duck with a leg band when I did. 

Here it is. 

Quite a bit of the identifying information on the band was worn away but some of the numbers and the date are readable.

BL ????? CHC NS ??
843-5??-104   417

The longest lived banded mallard lived to the ripe old age of 26.  Presuming the duck I found was banded as an adult in 2003 he probably led a reasonably long and productive life.

Dad had a long and productive life too. 

I emailed the people at the US Geological Survey (USGS monitors Federal duck bands) and they informed me yesterday that it's not their bird.

I asked if they had any ideas about who banded the bird and they gave me a brusque email equivalent of - GET LOST.

Following that I sent an email to our friendly neighbors north of the border to see if they might have a record that might match.

Anybody have any other ideas?

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