Good morning all,
Following on from the recent thread about the colour banded magpie, I have now received a report from the ABBBS concerning their policy on banding rehabilitated birds which I am passing on. I hope this will answer any queries that people may have.
From: ABBBS [
Sent: Tuesday, 7 April 2015 10:26 AM
To: 'Mark Clayton'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Tagged Magpie [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]
You are spot on in all regards. I have attached our current policy on banding rehab birds in case you want to pass it onto the list. In short we have supported banding projects on rehab birds in the past and continue to do so now in a limited fashion, mostly for species where there is a paucity of information.
My main concern is that there are birds being marked without approval and of course we have no idea where to pass them onto. I am sure the NPWS will also be interested in the report as they need permit the activity.
Feel free to pass my details onto interested people on the list in case they would like to discuss the possibility of a rehab project in more detail.
Senior Project Officer
Australian Bird & Bat Banding Scheme
GPO Box 8
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Please send all ABBBS related emails to: m("environment.gov.au","abbbs");">
From: Mark Clayton [m("bigpond.com","chollop7");">]
Sent: Sunday, 29 March 2015 11:45 AM
To: 'Philip Veerman'; 'Denise Kay'; 'Canberra Birds'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Tagged Magpie
To reply to Philip’s question, the bird was not given an ABBBS band as there is no official project on banding rehabilitated birds in the local area. All ABBBS bands can only be used on officially approved studies. The plastic band, as I noted in my earlier email, was technically placed on the bird “illegally”. Again it is the ABBBS that issues colour banding authorities for the use of colour bands, patagial wing tags and nasal saddles. This is to avoid any potential conflict between researchers who may inadvertently use the same colour combinations. Problems have arisen in the past where this has happened. Theoretically what should have happened in this case was for the colour band to be removed before the magpie was released. I know that the carers are interested to know what happened to their birds but it could have resulted in compromising someone’s study, especially if it involved a lot of other colour banded rehabilitated birds. In this case however, to the best of my knowledge, there is no study in the local area on magpies.
It is highly unlikely that the ABBBS will endorse any future program of banding rehabilitated birds either locally or elsewhere in Australia. As mentioned by Marg Peachy, there are not too many chances to get genuine recoveries (see next paragraph). There have been quite a few studies in Australia where banding of rehabilitated birds has been done. I think it has really only been successful on larger seabirds. I will contact the banding office to see if they can provide references to any papers on the subject and will pass the information to the list.
I also know from experience what problems can be caused by a banded rehabilitated bird. Many years ago when I was banding in my yard a neighbour said that there was magpie sitting on a window ledge at their house. I duly went and caught a perfectly healthy young magpie, put a band on it and let it go. It did everything one would expect of a wild bird. Several days later I had two somewhat irate people turn up at my front door demanding to know why I had banded “THEIR” magpie that they had spent some time rehabilitating. This bird was so tame, similar to the bird that started this discussion, that for the next month or so, it was reported to the banding scheme just about every day from properties over northern Kaleen. I am not sure what happened to the bird but have a sneaky feeling the band was removed! Similar situations have happened a number of times in other localities – the birds make a real nuisance of themselves, usually demanding to be fed.
Hopefully this will answer the question that Philip has asked. If people want any more information please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to provide an answer.
From: Philip Veerman [m("pcug.org.au","pveerman");">]
Sent: Sunday, 29 March 2015 9:55 AM
To: 'Denise Kay'; 'Canberra Birds'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Tagged Magpie
That is all reasonably sensible and understandable. My question is if they are given a plastic band, why aren't they also given an official ABBBS band? To meet the official protocols. I remember intentions from the wildlife foundation to start doing that 30 years ago. That would also give greater chance of getting more information (even though magpies don't move far).
From: Denise Kay [m("bigpond.com","denise.kay1");">]
Sent: Sunday, 29 March 2015 8:51 AM
To: Canberra Birds
Subject: Fwd: [canberrabirds] Tagged Magpie
Please see the response from Wildcare re: young Magpie.
The end result of raising orphaned/ ‘ rescued “ magpies once released is mostly unknown by those who raise them .
We would all love to know how they cope or indeed if they cope. I for one would like to see a pilot program that allows us to tag these birds ( for perhaps two years ) if only to know if they survive or not.
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Tagged Magpie
Date: 29 March 2015 7:53:12 am AEDT
Yes that is a Wildcare juvenile magpie released in Carwoola in November, so good to hear it is doing well. I actually got a phone call this afternoon from another person in Carwoola letting me know it has been sighted as well.
The magpie has a slight disability (falls over occasionally), but is otherwise OK. It still visits the Wildcare member who raised it (also in Carwoola), but is now hanging out with a bachelor group in the area. I'm not surprised it is following Wayne's son around as the Wildcare member has 2 boys who helped with raising it.
We haven't banded all of our juvenile magpies, but started doing some of them so we could track their progress. Any further reports on banded magpies would be much appreciated and they can send them to me at m("wildcare.com.au","birds");">