stints in trouble

Subject: stints in trouble
From: "John Leonard" <>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2001 23:15:03 +0000
I have been dismayed by the reactions on Birding-aus to Robert Beswick's observations of Red-necked Stints in difficulties because of leg flags.

It seems difficult to see how his very straightforward observations could be mistaken, and, just because it suits the purposes of others to deny them, why he should be vilified for reporting them.

Those who have responded to him have not made it clear how we know that mortality of leg flagged stints is just the same as that of unflagged birds. I can't see how this can be known and await enlightenment with interest.

Furthermore it must be a consideration that a comparatively large flag must interfere with stints' migration. Such a small bird would presumably be using every last effort in its migration and the addition of even a weight as small as one gram to its body-weight could have disastrous consequences. If the flag interferes with the birds ability to fold its leg up, then this is even more of an indictment.

I should add that I am not against flagging or netting per se, but with birds as small as stints surely more thought ought to go into flagging. I am reminded of the practice of wing-tagging penguins in Antarctica which went on for many years until it was shown that these birds are basically crippled, and any data gained from them useless.

John Leonard

John Leonard (Dr)

PO Box 243, Woden, ACT 2606, Australia

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