Mike Honeyman <>
Thu, 31 Mar 2011 07:28:30 +1100
There seems to be a lot of emotive language being thrown around about
leg flagging, and some pretty strong comments about the damage done
to birds by mark-recapture studies. Whilst I have no doubt that the
birds are, temporarily, distressed by this the more extreme
allegations need to be backed up by some evidence. If you are going
to make these accusations unsupported rhetoric does not cut it.
The suggestion by both Ian and Chris that there is no benefit in mark-
recapture and that banding is done for the benefit of the banders is
bizarre given the wide acceptance in the scientific community in the
use of the technique, especially for migratory birds and
understanding how migration functions at an individual and population
level. The allegation by Ian that "Very few leg flagged birds ever
make it past their next migration" with the clear inference that this
is because of the leg flagging rather than incidental to the leg
flagging certainly needs some (objective, peer reviewed) evidence.
Chris however does touch on a good point with his observations from
Broome. I wonder how much damage is being done by human activity on
beaches impacting the ability of migratory waders to prepare for the
return migration, or on resident species breeding success. If we want
to get all hot under the collar about anything I would suggest that
the assumption by the Australian public that the beach is an
extension of the local recreation park / 4WD training area needs
challenging. Surveying Pied Oystercatchers in winter/spring last year
around Phillip Island and Westernport it was surprising how hard it
was to find a beach without people and very often people with dogs on
them. There were few, if any, birds on these beaches. One beach I did
visit that was inaccessible by road and involved a reasonable walk
through bush to get there had a reasonable group of small waders.
When I found Hooded Plovers they were out on a rocky spit whilst a
family passed with two off leash labradors despite clear signs saying
that dogs should be on a leash.....
And don't get me started on the damage being done in China to build
facilities to import iron ore from Australia or export crap we don't
really need back to us.......
Mike (not a bander!)
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