Re: Bird banding contributes to Little Tern carnage

To: "Kym Bennet" <>, <>
Subject: Re: Bird banding contributes to Little Tern carnage
From: "Simon Mustoe" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 17:49:12 +1100
I may have overlooked this point. I didn't realise that 'leg-flagging' as it
has been referred to, was being discussed. I have only recently referred to
banding per se. I would first check that leg flagging was used and not
colour rings - or have these two techniques been mixed up.

Either way, I have recently been informed that it is not unusual for birds
to be colour ringed in excess of one or two bands on each leg. Although this
serves a purpose in some studies, I am led to believe that up to 10 colour
rings have been observed on some wading birds.

Despite agreeing with the principle of bird banding, I do not necessarily
think that it is necessary to band birds with so many rings. At the most,
three colours (which including the metal ring amounts to 2 rings per leg)
provides enough permutations for most large population studies. In other
studies larger numbers may be required but the value of colour ringing is
not proportional to the number of rings - it is proportional to the amount
of time a person can spend in the field recording data from colour ringed
birds (or in large studies, the number of reported sightings by the public).

I think it would be interesting to discuss this particular issue rather than
dwell on whether or not bird banding should or should not occur. We could
argue equally against birders going to well known sites to see rare or
endangered birds. I for one can see advantages in both activities that
outweigh the disadvantages in most (but not all) cases.


PS I enjoy light hearted banter on listservers and apologise for only
posting dull opinionated technical dross. Those who can keep an open mind
and see the humorous side to these debates, keep up the good work! I will
try harder in future.

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