Duck in a box!

duck feet

Credit: Wendy McPhee

One of the strangest things we’ve ever found in an archival box was a pair of duck feet. Yes, actual webbed feet from a real duck.

In 2010, our staff was looking through hundreds of boxes from dozens of Government of Canada departments, including Environment and Climate Change Canada. The files with the duck feet came from a program that tracked the migratory patterns of waterfowl in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Hunters who shot a duck banded by the tracking program were asked to send the bands only back to Environment and Climate Change Canada. Apparently, some hunters didn’t have time to use pliers…

They had been sitting in a closed box since 1977! Because of the risk of contamination, the archivists had no choice but to have the boxes destroyed.

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