Leg Flagging scourge now in Tasmania

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Leg Flagging scourge now in Tasmania
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:32:44 +1000
I have a statement attached to my main monitor and it says "Don't enter into debates 
Unfortunately I find that I can't resist at times.
This is one of those times but I hope to make my 'contribution' brief and I 
hope that I don't feel too guilty about giving in.

I don't know John Harris but I am with him on this.

But I would expand John's suggestion to include the "non-breeding season".

This topic comes up, unfortunately, every couple of years and nothing is ever 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the various wader study groups emerged from their self imposed secrecy and provided conclusive evidence that leg-flagging is not the 'evil' that some people are claiming. Wouldn't it be wonderful if these same wader study groups could actually back up their beliefs that leg-flagging is minimum-ally harmful and maxim-ally beneficial. Wouldn't it be wonderful if those same wader study groups made their 'proof' available to the 'ordinary' birdwatcher and thus put an end to this continual and divisive discussion.
But I guess I am just 'dreaming'.

By the same token, wouldn't it be wonderful if those people who abhor leg-flagging (and banding) would actually provide scientifically based evidence (as opposed to subjective and/or emotionally based evidence) that leg-flagging is a devastating process.

I wouldn't like anyone to think I am biased one way or the other on this topic 

I have never been involved in leg-flagging but I have held a Providence Petrel while it was banded. It was a wonderful feeling to know that that bird was going to help in the conservation of that species. Looking at a bird from a distance is a great experience but actually holding a live bird in one's hands and feeling the life there-in really encourages one to help these naive creatures to combat the dangers that we 'superior' humans present them with.

I have seen numerous leg-flagged birds in the field and none of them look to be 
in trouble or distress.

However, if other people have scientific and verifiable proof that leg-flagging, done according to the protocols, does actually put the life of that bird in jeopardy I am sure that the people doing the leg-flagging would dearly love to know. I doubt that people involved in wader study are keen on causing harm to the birds they love.
Actually, I know they are not.

I am not impressed by arguments that the apparent fact that few 're-captures' of flagged birds means that most have 'departed this mortal coil' because of the somewhat insignificant impediment of a leg-flag. But I do wonder at the need for adding more flags than are necessary to identify where the original flag was attached. This does seem somewhat mindless.

A minimum of mental effort is needed to reveal that migratory birds such as the shorebirds which visit our shores during our summer are liable to encounter more life threatening events than having a piece of plastic weighing less than a fraction of a percent of their normal body weight.

I make a plea..........
Please.............I beg that the opponents of leg-flagging (and banding) 
provide irrefutable proof that it is harmful.


Please.............I beg that the proponents (ok, there is no plural of 'proponent' but please give me a bit of licence) of leg-flagging provide us mere mortals with conclusive evidence that the benefits of leg-flagging out-weigh the minimal damage that 'may' be caused.

Am I dreaming again?

Hope not. I am sick of this topic.

Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point

PS: Sorry about that. That wasn't actually brief but it was briefer than I 
could have been.


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