Curlew Sandpiper - flags

Subject: Curlew Sandpiper - flags
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 22:53:39 +0800
At 20:21 02/04/2002 +0800, Marilyn Davis wrote:
Towards the end of our wader season, I often see recently leg flagged waders but not too often are many older flags ever observed. What happens to these leg flagged birds is of great concern. Of course there will be a few lucky survivors; the banders regard these as significant retraps but the question must be answered, where have the majority of flagged birds from previous years gone?

I don't understand what you are getting at???? The material used for the wader leg flags doesn't fade, so the old flags look the same as the new flags. You need to catch the bird and read the band number to determine the age of the bird. Maybe this is the cause of your incorrect assumption that leg flagged birds don't survive????

Although their migration staging areas may not be known, during migration Curlew Sandpipers use "mostly" coastal areas until they arrive in Australia. There has been considerable disturbance and modification along the East Asian flyway, but in percentage terms their coastal feeding habitat is still largely intact.

I disagree. From the reports of overseas sightings of leg flagged birds, many of these birds are sighted on marsh areas (or found on birds that have been caught for food and sold at the markets). These may be near the coast, but many are not on the coast. Curlew Sandpipers don't just feed anywhere on the coast. The feeding sites tend to be the mouths of rivers, etc. These areas also tend to be key areas for people. Japan has recently reclaimed on important site. These areas are very far from being intact.

Besides the whole point of leg flagging is to find where the birds stopover. The most significant Curlew Sandpiper sites have yet to be identified. We don't even know where many spend their time in Australia where hopefully there is far less pressure. That is why the sighting of the bird in South Africa is so important. The possibility exists that the missing birds from WA have headed to South Africa for the last year or two due to the bad conditions at their normal WA sites.

There is an urgent need for an independent investigation into the adverse impacts of bird banding, particularly "leg flagging" small waders. It seems that the Banders won't do it themselves. If a truly independent and thorough evaluation of these threatening processes were carried out, then we might all feel a little more confident that these research projects are not destroying the birds that we all want to protect.

The data is publicly available from the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme in Canberra. We look forward to your summary.

Frank O'Connor     Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694                Email : 

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU