The DEC has to have some of the coolest ways to capture animals you've ever seen.

Ducks swimming in a pond at Medical Park in Northwest Amarillo
Michael J. Rivera/Townsquare Media

I know what you're thinking. Are they really loading a duck into a cannon and shooting it? No they aren't. But they are using rockets to capture ducks for banding and data collecting.

It takes a while for it to happen in the video, but you will see what we mean at around the 2:20 minute mark. The DEC wildlife staff members remain completely quiet so they don't spook the birds.

Once the rockets go off, it looks like the ducks have entered the Revolutionary War. The "duck cannons" shoot off rockets towards the birds, bringing a net attached to them. All that's left behind is a ton of smoke, as if someone fired off a canon back in the 1700's.

This process is used in order to capture large amounts of ducks at one time. Members of the DEC will then take the birds safely out of the net and band their legs. They band over 8,000 migratory game birds each year to learn about their survival, harvest, and migration routes.

Ducks Swimming in a pond at Medical Park in Northwest Amarillo
Michael J. Rivera/Townsquare Media

The DEC actually hosted a Facebook Live video, showing how they band the birds every single year.

Before releasing the ducks, they will record the bird's species age, sex, and band number. This is the same process as other bird bandings are done. Ducks will typically live up to 18 years, but banding will help scientists see if these trends change.

If you see, rescue, or hunt a duck with a tag on it, you can look up it's information for yourself at Here you will be able to learn where and how the bird was banded, along with approximately how old it is.

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