Marked birds - where to send observations?

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Marked birds - where to send observations?
From: "Philip A. Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 12:03:20 +1000
Fair comment. I have not been to WTP for many years. Although I see banded birds occasionally, the only banded birds that I remember off the top of my head, that I have ever found in which I could actually get to see the colours for long enough and clear enough to note them down have been a W-w Chough in Barton (Canberra) & a Sooty Oystercatcher at Wollongong. I reported both to ABBS and got a reply from them.
I suggest to you that most bird observers going to WTP wish to cover as much as possible of the area as easily as possible, as it is not the world's prettiest environment. They want to see lots of birds (mainly waterbirds), with always the possibility of something quite unusual. Brown Falcons are easily found all over the country and are easy to identify at a distance. So they are not likely to be high priority species for a close look, for most observers. Therefore people are not so likely to spend time looking closely at that species in that place, to enable finding colour bands. That does not deny the validity of your request though. As far as publicising the request, sadly that is a never-ending task to keep reminding people of what you do. Don't be discouraged. Look at how much advertising McDonald's do and their food is still trash.
-----Original Message-----
From: Paul McDonald <>
To: Simon Mustoe <>
Cc: <>
Date: Friday, 19 April 2002 10:38
Subject: Re: [BIRDING-AUS] Marked birds - where to send observations?

Hi Simon and other Birders,

I am a PhD student that is studying the population of Brown
Falcons at the Western Treatment Plant (WTP), Werribee and
adjacent Avalon Airport. As part of this project I have been colour
banding breeding birds and also young for the last 3 seasons. To
date, 290 birds have been banded; from mid-1999 at least 80% of
the territory holding population (35-39 pairs) on the WTP has been
colour-banded. Re-sightings of colour-banded brown falcons can be
sent to me at:

Mbl: 0410 679 022

Now, for a bit of a gripe, not personally aimed at Simon but in
frustration at the lack of response I routinely get from these
postings. e.g. Simon's comments:

"It seems that if effort is going to be put into marking these birds in
the first place, then the proponents should, presumably, be making
a concerted effort to advertise for re-sightings information."

One of the reasons that people may feel disinclined to continually
advertise their projects is a lack of return for their efforts. I feel that
my study highlights this point. One of the reasons I chose the
WTP was for the number of birders moving through the area
routinely, which I expected to equate to lots of independent colour-
band sightings. Despite the large numbers of birds banded, I have
had 4 re-sightings reported from birders over the last 3 years.
Considering the number of birders that visit the WTP in a week and
the number of banded birds present, this is an poor birder:colour-
band sighting report ratio.

I don't expect people to do my job for me, but I expected more
interest in the project than that. Given how pushed for time
everyone is nowadays, I can easily see how people give up. For the
people that have reported sightings, I am very grateful and please
keep looking!

I consider that I have publicised the project widely, putting
summaries in birding magazines, speaking at several birding clubs
each year, handing out flyers at all talks and placing reminders on
birding-aus a couple of times a year, e.g. when young become
independent and wander widely. It is particularly disappointing to
hear reports of birders who have been looking at colour-banded
birds, commented on it to WTP staff (who usually pass my details
on), and then never hearing of the details.

In short, to end my gripe, banding projects are run to answer
specific questions. Many of these questions, e.g. where do the
young go, what migration routes are used etc etc can only be
answered through reports of re-sightings. The more re-sightings,
the quicker the question is answered and the fewer birds need to
be banded to answer the question. Something to keep in mind the
next time you see a banded bird, particularly if you don't agree with
the practise of bird banding (although that's another well covered
issue lets not re-visit!). Please, if you are out birding and see bands
on any bird, take the time to report the sighting. Most banders are
only too happy to fill you in on the info about the bird, project and
any other questions people have (e.g. see my email to Birding-Aus
late last year in response to Ian Montgomery photographing one of
my banded birds).

Happy birding,
Paul McDonald

Please report all sightings of colour banded Brown Falcons:
Ph: 03 9742 2902
Mbl: 0410 679 022

Paul McDonald
Division of Botany and Zoology
School of Life Sciences
Australian National University
Canberra, A.C.T.
Australia 0200
Ph:  +61 02 6125 2536
Fax: +61 02 6125 5573
Mbl: 0410 679 022
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