Leg Flagging/Banding

To: Peter Shute <>, Birding-Aus Birding-Aus <>
Subject: Leg Flagging/Banding
From: Paul McDonald <>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 09:37:30 +1100
Dear Peter et al,

Whilst I am also loath to start this up again, I have to comment on this. 
ANYONE observing such terrible banding practises as described by Trevor Manley 
should IMMEDIATELY report them to the authorities, starting with, in Australia, 
the ABBBS. I would fully expect under this scenario for licenses to be pulled. 
Birds should not be getting injured during extraction from mist nets - the net 
is expendable, the bird is not. On the extremely rare occasions that the bird 
is hopelessly tangled (for a skilled bander this should virtually never be an 
issue), the net should be cut to free the bird as quickly as possible. The 
debacle described seems due to the complete stupidity of whoever was in charge, 
clearly there were too many birds in the nets (so the nets should have been 
closed until all birds were processed and released) and/or untrained 
individuals were not being given suitable supervision during extractions. 
Neither is acceptable practise. In any case, it is unfair to use an e
 xample of an (American? sorry forgotten) experience to lump all banders and 
cannon netting waders into the same group. 

What is needed is evidence from both sides. The case for positive outcomes and 
expanding knowledge with banding is more than met, anyone arguing that banding 
tells us nothing scientifically has not bothered to check the literature. What 
we need is studies assessing the impact of banding itself, both from a metal 
service (i.e. numbered ABBS band) right through to flags/satellite trackers 
etc. Some studies are out there, but we need more. I would urge those calling 
for the practise to be banned to provide evidence demonstrating that it is 
damaging survival probabilities. If this can be produced, I would be happy to 
work with whoever has such data to help them publish it. If it can't be 
produced, then rather than slander people in a public forum (thereby further 
expanding the divide between both camps), why not volunteer to assist some 
banding activities and start collecting data on negative aspects of the 
practise yourself? The reality is, if you feel strongly that this is such
  a negative practise, the only way you will ever stop it is provided evidence 
that it is negatively impacting upon the birds. I doubt any of the wader 
banding folk bother reading Birding-Aus so it is a fruitless thread here, and 
why would they when baseless accusations get thrown at them on a c.3 monthly 

Personally, I haven't used leg flags so don't know much about them, but 
certainly haven't seen any evidence of handicapped waders. Having said this, 
the effects might be quite subtle and be influencing metabolism or 
corticosterone loads or the like, so a study on this would be useful if not 
completed already (try searching google scholar or web of knowledge for 'leg 
bands' etc). In short, personal attacks do not help anyone's cause, only data 
will solve this argument. If you don't have data, look for it, if it doesn't 
exist then go and help get it. Otherwise I'd suggest that you have little to 
add to the thread.


On 31/03/2011, at 9:10 AM, Peter Shute wrote:

> There was an earlier posting, I forget whose, that said that they didn't like 
> the injuries caused by trapping waders, but they were quite ok with mist 
> nets. But here Trevor Manley says he has seen mist nets cause "appalling 
> injury and trauma". 
> Why the difference in experiences? Can anyone explain this?
> Peter Shute
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:  
>>  On Behalf Of 
>> Trevor Manley
>> Sent: Wednesday, 30 March 2011 8:55 PM
>> To: 
>> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Leg Flagging/Banding
>> Is there anyone out there who is prepared to offer a 
>> justification for these practices?  Anyone who can quantify 
>> how it benefits the birds??
>> Back in 2002, I was living in the USA and volunteered on a 
>> spring migration banding team on the Lake Erie southern shore 
>> - one of the major migration hotspots.
>> I guess my motivation was the opportunities it would offer to 
>> see and photograph birds at close quarters.
>> But I didn't last long - I was appalled by the mortality and 
>> trauma involved.  Not many birds actually injured themselves 
>> or died in the mist nets (though one death is one too many), 
>> but many got so badly entangled that they were injured being 
>> extracted from the nets.  And there was a further mortality 
>> rate of birds in the keep bags.  I quit pretty quickly!
>> As far as I could see, the only entities benefitting from the 
>> exercise were the (human) banders/organisers in being able to 
>> report "higher numbers than last year", and to thus gain 
>> further funding to do it all over again the next year.
>> I think by now we know the migratory ranges of most every 
>> species, so the practice of banding/flagging is surely past 
>> it's use-by date.
>> Trevor Manley
>> ===============================
>> To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
>> send the message:
>> unsubscribe
>> (in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
>> to: 
>> ===============================
> ===============================
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
> send the message:
> unsubscribe
> (in the body of the message, with no Subject line)
> to: 
> ===============================


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with 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