Tue, 20 Jun 1995 16:56:00 +0000
I too am torn over the merits of this practice. However, on overall
reflection I would consider that I am, today, totally against it. As
others have said, it has contributed to conservation and that is great
but... Surely there gets a point when it is no longer contributing
useful data. We now know the flight paths and volumes of birds
involved. Why continue to kill these birds? Cannon netting needs to
be confined to the history books.
I believe the kills are only the tip of an iceberg. What about the
disturbance caused to the birds and thier habitat? Waders have too few
places to feed and roost at the best of times. When they are
cannon-netted they can't roost or feed. They expend energy needlessly
which has to be made up. If you are just about to fly to Siberia and
are trying to put on as much weight in as little time as possible then
the last thing you need is to be scared ****less. On the other hand, if
you've just flown from Siberia and managed to dodge the Chinese and
you're on your last legs with not a gram of fat on you then also the
last thing you need is a bunch of cannon netters harrassing you.
Perhaps it should be banned during migration periods?
What really bugs me is that cannon netters always deny that they kill
birds. And yet all of us who have witnessed it recall that birds are
killed in just about every netting. I once went up to Kooragang to view
the roost. Had planned it for several weeks and looked forward to it.
Only to find that the netters had got there before us and not a bird in
site. Goodness knows where they were because they have no where else to
go. The birds would have gone without their meal that day as the best
feeding times for waders are as the tide falls. They can't feed at high
tide nor efficiently at low tide. What's more, I was told that 20
Eastern Curlews had died in the nets - shock and heat exhaustion. This
species is in the red data book and it is quite scandalous that even one
should die. The site is a RAMSAR site that Australia is obliged by
international law to protect. What a sham.
And on the subject of Long-billed Dowitchers - assuming that the net was
specifically set to catch the two birds - what on earth could be gained
from banding a vagrant? How many waders died in the process (remember -
not just at the time the nets were sprung but later from shock).
Banding specifically for waders whether it be in mist or canon nets only
serves the bander and no-one else.
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