I am not judging either viewpoint here, merely making some
observations so I hope I don't raise anyones wrath.
I am against any unnecesary killing of any animal and am saddened
by any mortalities caused by cannon-netting (not to mention any form
of bird-trapping - mist-netting etc). But where one draws the line
as to what is necessary is pretty much a personal decision and is
hardly ever consistently logical but based on emotion etc as well.
For example, by driving cars at some stage you are going to hit and
kill a bird. This would cause regret to any of us and we'd do
a lot to avoid it, ie swerving, braking etc but we need to drive
our cars. There is a religous group (Jainism?) who go to great
lengths to avoid any harm to any living animal and apparently take
care with every step they take and wear cloths over thier mouths to
avoid swallowing insects- but such lengths would be extreme to most
As Laurie pointed out, there is undoubtedly a wealth of data that
comes from banding waders. A lot of this is actually useful in
helping to conserve the birds themselves, eg by identifying migratory
pathways; by finding that lots of migrants to Australia get eaten by
people. Consequently steps can be taken to ensure that stop ever
places are kept safe from development and educating hunters of waders
about the need for sustained utilisation of this resource.
But a lot of the info. is of immediate interest only to ourselves
and the thirst for knowledge we have. As David Attenborough showed
on Tials of Life the other night, an Albatross banded in 1937 in NZ
is still returning and nesting at the same spot. That gives me a
sense of awe and wonder and apprecaition for this bird that could not
have happened without banding, but it probably didn't help that
species much, and almost certainly not that individual bird. The
debate is really is similar to the scientific collection of birds -
the sacrifice of a few for the good of our knowledge and perhaps for
the species itself. Some see that infringing the rights of a few can
not be justified even at the good of all - again the amount and type
of infringement on the indiviual that is justified will vary from
person to person.
All in all, cannon-netting has undoubtedly contributed to the
deaths of many birds but I reckon it's probably saved many others by
facilitating good conservation and given us a wealth of info. Whether
this justifies those deaths is a personal, subjective view.
Undoubtedly we all need to be aware of how we impact on birds and
whether we can justify it to others and, perhaps more importantly, to
Sorry if this is a waffle and it probaly is only reflecting what
you all think anyway, but it is an important and interesting issue
and it would be good to see how others feel.