In the context of a genuine interest in gaining more knowledge of one of the
most recent additions to the list of birds for Australia I wrote:
"It seems to me that an attempt should be made to mark or label SIPOs seen in
Australia to help solve this mystery by making it easier to track the
movements of this new-to-Australia (?) bird."
In response, Colin Reid (and others) wrote (or words to the same effect):
"Oh God, Bob, you're not suggesting we band them are
Is there another method that could be used?
If the bird was fitted with a system of coloured bands, that would certainly
make identification much easier and therefore the bird would be much easier to
Currently, banding seems to be the only way it could be done.
In spite of all the discussion lately, I have not seen any reference to, or
suggestions for, an alternative method of gathering such information.
Even the main anti-banding proponent seems to suggest in her posting of 19 Jan
16:02 that there is a place for banding provided it is done for a good reason
and is carried out humanely.
Perhaps some of the very active and fertile minds that have been involved (and
perhaps some who haven't) in the discussion on banding could turn their energies
towards devising a better alternative.
To start with:
Photographing individuals has been used in research on whale migration.
Has this method ever been tried with birds?
There are obvious problems with finding permanent and obvious differences
between individual birds of the same species.
But could this method be applied in this case?
Could this individual bird be marked with a non-toxic, environmentally friendly,
colour co-ordinated, water-proof, semi-permanent 'paint'?
The bird would not have to be actually caught to do this if suitable equipment
I must say I would like to witness the process though; it should be spectacular
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