At 11:11 22.11.00 +0000, you wrote:
Am I confused? I a recent bird banding newsletter a dead bird with a
band on its leg was referred to as a "successful recovery".
I never know whether you are serious or tongue-in-cheek! *A dead
bird with a band on its leg* i also would call a successful recovery,
provided its death has nothing to do with the fact that it is banded (That
happens, sadly enough, but not very often). But apart from that such a bird
furnishes a lot of potential information: its age, the distance it has
moved, the morphological changes in known-age birds and, in conjunction
with other such records, the mortality and longevity of this particular
species (cohort, sex). These are all data that one can recover from a dead
banded bird, but not from a dead unbanded bird, and talking about 'a
successful recovery' therefore seems fair enough.
I am not a bird bander myself, but as a museums curator I mediate
many 'dead birds with a band' from those who find them to those who have
the data. After I get the data from the Banding Central (In our country in
Stavanger) I write a letter to the finders, trying to explain how the data
from this particular bird fit in into the general picture derived from
banding as well as other studies.
Banding has a certain cost: a few birds (but really few!) die
during the process, and the bands themselves may conceivably , in some
cases of a not ideal fit, hamper the bird later on (We have had gulls with
lesions around the bands). But the method gives us far more data in many
fields of study than almost all other study methods, except perhaps
shooting large numbers of birds, which is no longer acceptable to either
the scientists themselves or to the general public.
Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
9037 Tromsø, Norway
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