A Wildlife Article from All-Creatures.org




Have we gone overboard on banding birds?

From RealityChecksWithStaci-lee.com
January 2024

Many birds only have bands on one leg or often have a different number of bands on each leg. This means weight distribution is not even and despite the bands being tiny every little bit of weight matters. Ask any pilot about weight distribution and they will tell you that even the smallest variation changes how the plane flies. Can we really assume the same does not hold true for birds?

You can see how this seemingly simple program involves many people over long periods of time and rarely does anyone work for free. For any nonprofits involved they use these programs as a fundraising tool, so money is always involved in the process. As we have seen many times whenever money is involved the truth can often be tainted.

banded Bird

I remember back when I was a kid it was a rare sighting to see a bird banded or a wolf wearing a radio collar. Nowadays these are more common sightings but how much good does this actually do? Keep in mind that when a bird is banded several people are involved in the process. Most of the time these people are paid and often itís not just one group of people but a variety from different non profits or universities.

Before a bird is banded: someone has to trap the bird, someone has to band the bird, most times a medical check is performed, someone has to make the bands, another has to record the number and color of the band and lastly someone has to keep track of sightings once the bird is released. Of course reports are done as well. You can see how this seemingly simple program involves many people over long periods of time and rarely does anyone work for free. For any nonprofits involved they use these programs as a fundraising tool, so money is always involved in the process. As we have seen many times whenever money is involved the truth can often be tainted.

When are enough bands enough?

The idea to band birds started with the hope of learning migratory routes and habits as a way to aid conservation. We canít save a species if we donít even know where they live, eat and breed. Over the years it has morphed into a money maker for many seeking funding. As is often the case, especially with conservation, great ideas often turn into a horror when taken to excess. Banding birds is one of those ideas that looks to have mushroomed out of control and all one needs to do is look at the photos of birds with multiple bands sometimes completely covering both legs. 

 

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Please read the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE.

 

Snowy Plover chicks
Snowy Plover chicks with 4 bands, both legs are banded before they can even fly.



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