Hep: I realize that watching a bird banding operation can seem stressful to some of us, but as in medicine we attempt to do no harm. It is our concern for birds that drives our need to learn more about them. Watching and listening to birds still remains one of the best methods we have to understand their occurrence, distribution and relative abundance, but it also has its limitations. There are many things about birds that we simply cannot learn without capturing and marking individuals so that we can identify them and follow them to some varying degree. Through the art of bird banding we have learned and continue to learn about birds in a way that would never be possible if we didn't undertake this. Since the welfare and care of all captured birds is a top priority this is the very reason why it is so difficult to obtain a federal bird banding permit. For me, bird banding has been one of many avenues I have relied upon to learn about birds and it has taught me things I could not have learned otherwise.
In the spring of 1988 I captured a female yellow warbler at my banding site at Horicon Marsh that I used for over 25 years. In May of 1997 I recaptured the same bird at the same clump of bushes. She was obviously an adult when I first caught her, as it was prior to that year's breeding season. This meant that this bird was at least 10 years old when I recaptured her! Of all of the yellow warblers that I have sighted in this particular area over so many years, I never would have known who was who or how long a bird of this species could possibly live if I wouldn't have banded hundreds of yellow warblers only to have one return, survive this long, and reveal this to me.
This bird migrated each year to its wintering grounds in Central America or northern South America. It traveled at least 2,000 to 2,500 miles each way adding up to 40,000 or 50,000 miles of travel between there and Horicon Marsh over that period. If this bird or other banded birds were so traumatized or encumbered as a result of my attaching a leg band to it, a banded bird would never live to 10 years.
I also had a chickadee which I banded at my home. Over its lifetime it was recaptured 33 times during a period of 4 years and 3 months - its minimum longevity. I am sure that it was agitated with me (or at least my banding efforts) and felt "frustrated" by being captured in a mist net so many times, but again it never would have made it that long if this was in some major way interfering with its survival. Of course, I felt bad for its inability to avoid my nets over several years but I doubt it was harmed, albeit inconvenienced.
As a result of modern technology and the development of increasingly smaller radio tags, geotags, and MOTUS tags we are learning about birds in a way that wasn't possible only a decade or so ago. We are now learning that birds don't just go south, or fly to the neotropics, but for many species distinct populations migrate to different wintering grounds. This could never have been discovered without banding and also can be a significant driver for conservation.
We are discovering that Wisconsin's wood thrushes appear to migrate to southern Mexico and Belize rather than the South Carolina population that winters in El Salvador and southern Guatemala; or the Pennsylvania, Ohio, southern Ontario population that winters in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. This kind of information can only be obtained by tracking a marked bird - one that has been captured, tagged, and released back into the wild. If any sort of band or tag that we affix to a bird were to interfere with its behavior, then the information we would obtain would be biased and rather useless.
I have had my federal banding permit since 1982. I have captured and tagged (banded or ringed) over 10,000 birds which isn't even that considerable compared to other banders who have worked for an equal amount of time. I have devoted my life to birds; enjoying birds, and learning about birds. I would have given up banding birds a long time ago if I thought that I was unduly harming the very subject I love so much. If there were nothing more to learn about birds that we can only discover through banding, then we certainly would have ceased this a long time ago.
Bill Volkert FdL Co.
On Sat, Mar 13, 2021 at 6:06 PM Hephziabah Beulah <hephziabahb...> wrote:
> > You got my blood boiling and my heart pumping and I have been silent too > > long. Well said Brian and I am in 100% agreement. > > > > I've seen bird banding with the River edge group and at the Zoo. I > > observed birds trapped in a net trying to free themselves, taken out > > carefully, (not always cuz some are trapped into the net deep) placed in > a > > sack that gets tied at the top and placed off to the side until it's time > > for it to go through the testing to which the bird is stuffed into a > toliet > > paper roll head first and placed on a scale for weight. In the meantime > as > > the wings are looked at for age, wear and tear, a band is then chosen to > > put on it's leg for the rest of it's life. What does the bird do when it > is > > in the nest with babies, that chunk of metal has got to be uncomfortable. > > Plus, now the bird has to adjust it's flying due to the handcuff on it. > > Okay, if the bird does not respond to a release from all the trauma it > > experienced, there is a box with a warmer inside a glove to which the > > bird is placed upon and the box is closed. I have seen both a joyful > > release and birds that have perished, sick!!! A Free bird trapped in a > net > > to put a stupid band on it ruins it's Free Spirit. Has anyone followed it > > to see if it continues to sing. In my strong opinion, it is cruel > trapping > > a free bird into a net and Yes, banding is OVERDONE!!! It needs to stop! > I > > agree we have enough data, we've done radar chips in the back of birds > > (Nexrad) to follow them from here to over the ocean, etc. We learn from > > nature and technology is overrated and ruining the earth. > > > > (I request you do not back channel me about this text because I will > > exploit you) > > > > Hep > > Brookfield, WI > > > > I now know why it came out as gibberish. Thank you. > > > > -------- Original message -------- > > From: Brian <courthousehollow...> > > Date: 3/12/21 2:41 PM (GMT-06:00) > > To: > > Cc: wisbirdn <wisbirdn...> > > Subject: [wisb] Re: Reporting nest sites > > > > Hello everyone, > > First off, this is LONG and a bit of a rant, so don���t read this if that > > bothers you. Before posting I reread the WisBird rules, and yes, I���d be > > ok > > with my mother reading this ���� But my ultimate goal is to get people > > thinking so that birds can thrive. > > > > I'm wondering if there's a pink elephant in the room in this > conversation? > > Are all banding ���studies��� self-justifying? I have a question for the > > forum > > if people would be so kind. I'm curious if anyone could summarize for me > > how most of the bird banding that is done is anything but HARASSMENT to > > them? I am honestly sending this out of genuine curiosity, have no > > mal-intentions, and am not being derogatory towards anyone's interest in > > banding. I really do want to understand. > > > > I've been birding for 15 years or so now and in my quest to wrap my head > > around banding: I have helped with bird banding multiple times over > > multiple years for grad students in the UW system and elsewhere, read > many, > > many articles by professionals, USGS, as well as lay folks perspectives > via > > articles and on forums, yet I could only come up with 4 examples of how > > banding could ACTUALLY benefit birds. > > > > The 1st, is using banding for translocating, ex. to determine which males > > are which in order to move some of the younger ones in the interest of > > populating other areas due to habitat loss, etc. The 2nd, involves > > endangered species or soon to be endangered, ex. using banding for the > > purpose of knowing who���s who, where they go, how many successfully > > fledge, > > etc. The 3rd, is to assist with game bird hunting regulations. The 4th, > is > > determining survival rates after oil spills or for toxicology in general. > > But > > all 4 examples don't seem to justify the majority of banding. > > > > With the exception of those uses, every example I've ever seen/heard as > to > > the "benefits" of what we have learned/learn from banding could be > > distilled down to "satisfying human curiosity" or worse, giving humans > > doing these projects "something fun to do" with a carte blanche > > psychological safety net, say, when they stuff a passerine headfirst > into a > > pill bottle to weigh them, that, "I'm doing this to help birds!" Some > > examples of what I've come across of how banding "helps" birds are: > > learning that certain birds move here or there in their lifetimes, fly in > > one stretch over the gulf, live for X amount of years, territorial > > behavior, territory size and fidelity, mate fidelity, reproductive > behavior > > (which bird builds the nest or feeds the young and how often), etc. > Again, > > satisfying human curiosity.... > > > > To me, learning that a bird uses this or that summer/winter site, with > the > > exception of not destroying existing habitats (...but, really, where a > few > > recaptured birds go isn't much help to the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of > > others of that species that go elsewhere), is more or less irrelevant to > > conservation efforts in 2021. We've known for 60 years minimum that birds > > need habitat in general and they generally need most varieties of > habitat. > > So, in my mind, learning a certain Warbler passing through Wisconsin (or > > anywhere) winters in X particular patch of forest in Venezuela is > > questionable conservation at best, and most likely, just > > harassment/wasteful. Perhaps it could generate local interest during > > fundraising, but so could MANY other things. And wouldn't birds be BETTER > > served by using those funds for protecting/acquiring as much quality > > habitat with as much habitat diversity as possible? > > > > It appears scientists need to be reminded that in their vigor and > eagerness > > for "data", publications, career cache, tenure, job security, a raise, > etc, > > that they might be forgetting to consider just how "essential" an > invasive > > study (banding) is to the population���s (or individual���s) future > > survival, > > short and long term. And that needs to be asked for EVERY "study" using > > bands/transmitters. The problem is... it appears to rarely be asked. > > "Banding is good", is the inculcated mantra....and "the more the better"! > > > > I can't help but think that most efforts by concerned birders, especially > > banding, are beating a dead horse, or worse, diluting resources for > > conservation that could be better spent by giving birds a greater chance > at > > living LIFE. Knowing any of the aforementioned things we learn from > banding > > (aside from my first 4 examples) seems a stretch that it���s helping > birds > > any. It's been long established that birds decline without habitat in > which > > they can thrive, and we know enough (and have known enough for a LONG > time) > > to assist most of them with that. Banding just seems like a bizarre thing > > to do to another creature so we can "learn" about them. An antiquated and > > insensitive holdover that appears to be kept around because "it's what we > > do". I would guess eBird provides FAR more useful data without harassing > > the birds (with the exception of a few knuckleheads ���gathering��� data > > for > > eBird). > > > > But what COULD benefit birds, and benefit them in a BIG way, is if > everyone > > who has ever banded (or many other data collection methods) took ALL the > > costs over the years associated with such efforts (gas, equipment, time, > > funding/grants, etc, etc) and pooled those resources to buy/restore > habitat > > globally; critical areas being of 1st concern. Birds, and Nature in > > general, would be FAR better off than the "value" of the reams of data > that > > was/is/will be collected or the costs of the tremendous resources used > > worldwide to further such endeavors. > > > > Essentially, I���m wondering if our efforts are truly making any > difference > > or if we're just swimming in interesting but ultimately useless data > about > > birds. > > > > Any feedback contrary to my view is much appreciated. > > > > > > > > Thank you! > > > > Brian Pierce, Green Bay, Brown County > > > > On Thu, Mar 11, 2021 at 6:30 PM Bill Stout <stoutw...> wrote: > > > > > Hi Tom, > > > I decided to forward my email to you to the entire group because I > > believe > > > that a good number of people do not understand the perspective of a > > > researcher. In fact, some even may be considered hypocritical (e.g., > > > Madison Eagle Nest Watch seems to depend on volunteers to REPORT and > > > MONITOR eagle NEST LOCATIONS for them, but they are dead set against > > anyone > > > reporting nests to anyone else). I have read several other viewpoints > > that > > > also seem one-sided or perhaps uninformed. It is certainly not my > intent > > > here to offend anyone; however, I am not so naive as to think that this > > > won't happen. Nevertheless, it is not my intent. > > > > > > Most Sincerely, > > > Bill Stout > > > Ashippun, USA > > > > > > My email to Tom on Wednesday in response to his post: > > > > > > Thanks for your insights, Tom, as I greatly appreciate them. I just > > wanted > > > you to know that I am very conservative in my work when it comes to > > > alerting others of nest sights. I do not list locations such as on > eBird > > or > > > report locations to anyone. However, as an educator, if someone is very > > > interested in the birds or if a nest is in the immediate vicinity of > > their > > > home, I work to provide them with a "one of a kind" educational > > experience. > > > > > > Last year I did not accommodate the general public and followed the > North > > > American Bird Banding Council recommendations for bird banding in the > > time > > > of a COVID-19 pandemic (with the exception of one of the fist Great > > Horned > > > Owl sites as it was before recommendations were out). This year will be > > > more complicated as we try to move back to a new normal during this > time. > > > Nevertheless, I will be very cautious. > > > > > > Thanks again for your post. > > > > > > Sincerely, > > > Bill Stout > > > Ashippun, USA > > > > > > William E. Stout > > > > > > ________________________________ > > > From: Bill Stout <stoutw...> > > > Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 12:58 PM > > > To: <sykes...> <sykes...> > > > Subject: Re: [wisb] Reporting nest sites > > > > > > Thanks for your insights, Tom, as I greatly appreciate them. I just > > wanted > > > you to know that I am very conservative in my work when it comes to > > > alerting others of nest sights. I do not list locations such as eBird > or > > > report locations to anyone. However, as an educator, if someone is very > > > interested in the birds or if a nest is in the immediate vicinity of > > their > > > home, I work to provide them with a "one of a kind" educational > > experience. > > > > > > Last year I did not accommodate the general public and followed the > North > > > American Bird Banding Council recommendations for bird banding in the > > time > > > of a COVID-19 pandemic (with the exception of one of the fist Great > > Horned > > > Owl sites as it was before recommendations were out). This year will be > > > more complicated as we try to move back to a new normal during this > time. > > > Nevertheless, I will be very cautious. > > > > > > Thanks again for your post. > > > > > > Sincerely, > > > Bill Stout > > > Ashippun, USA > > > > > > William E. Stout > > > > > > ________________________________ > > > From: <wisbirdn-bounce...> <wisbirdn-bounce...> on > > > behalf of Tom Sykes <sykes...> > > > Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 10:43 AM > > > To: Wisbirdn <wisbirdn...> > > > Subject: [wisb] Reporting nest sites > > > > > > From time to time the issue of reporting bird nests appears on the > list. > > > And while there is some disagreement about whether or not a nest site > is > > or > > > is not being disturbed by human presence, I would direct you to both > the > > > ABA Birding Ethics and WSO Birding Ethics sites as a reminder for those > > > wondering about the ethics of reporting a nest site. WISBIRDN > subscribes > > to > > > following both. > > > > > > https://wsobirds.org/about-wso/code-of-ethics > > > > > > https://www.aba.org/aba-code-of-birding-ethics/ > > > > > > It is true that many reports of nesting raptors appear on eBird as well > > as > > > many other listservs and Facebook pages. Citizen Science is a great > tool > > > but it is also used by a few unethical people. People who don���t care > > about > > > disturbing birds in order to get ���the perfect shot���, or, people who > > would > > > traffic in birds. Even curious onlookers. Fortunately, these people are > > in > > > a minority. But they are out there. > > > > > > It���s also one thing for one or two people to observe a nest but > > consider a > > > report in an urban area when many people arrive at the same time - as > > with > > > the eagle nest recently reported in Walworth city. Birds may be > > > intimidated. Or not. The problem is, it���s usually too late to reverse > > the > > > damage when it���s found to be they are disturbed. > > > > > > Some years ago an eagle nest was reported in Horicon Marsh. Fish and > > > Wildlife staff closed off the immediate area although the nest could be > > > observed at some distance. The eagles were successful. There have been > > > eagle nests up and down the Fox River near Appleton easily seen by > anyone > > > who wishes to observe at a safe distance. The same with many lakes in > the > > > northern part of the state. > > > > > > I happened to volunteer at a wildlife refuge in Florida for five months > > > where a Bald Eagle had set up a nest and produced young. Although the > > nest > > > was quite high, we roped off the area to prevent disturbing the nest > > site. > > > These birds were quite skittish whenever anyone approached the base of > > the > > > tree. A local member of the Audubon Society objected claiming the birds > > > were not at all disturbed and was subsequently banned from the refuge > > when > > > he ignored the roped off area and had gone so far as to fly a drone > > toward > > > the nest to get video. And this was the local president of an Audubon > > > chapter! > > > > > > It all boils down to using common sense and taking into consideration > the > > > particular situation. Just because one raptor nest doesn���t appear to > be > > > troubled by human activity, doesn���t necessarily apply to another > raptor > > > nest. Great care should be taken when reporting a sighting. If in > doubt, > > > don���t report. > > > > > > Tom Sykes > > > Wisbirdn List Owner > > > <sykes...> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > #################### > > > You received this email because you are subscribed to the Wisconsin > > > Birding Network (Wisbirdn). > > > To UNSUBSCRIBE or SUBSCRIBE, use the Wisbirdn web interface at: > > > http://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn > > > To set DIGEST or VACATION modes, use the Wisbirdn web interface at: > > > http://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn > > > Visit Wisbirdn ARCHIVES at: http://www.freelists.org/archives/wisbirdn > > > > > > > > > > > > #################### > > > You received this email because you are subscribed to the Wisconsin > > > Birding Network (Wisbirdn). > > > To UNSUBSCRIBE or SUBSCRIBE, use the Wisbirdn web interface at: > > > http://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn > > > To set DIGEST or VACATION modes, use the Wisbirdn web interface at: > > > http://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn > > > Visit Wisbirdn ARCHIVES at: http://www.freelists.org/archives/wisbirdn > > > > > > > > > > > > > #################### > > You received this email because you are subscribed to the Wisconsin > > Birding Network (Wisbirdn). > > To UNSUBSCRIBE or SUBSCRIBE, use the Wisbirdn web interface at: > > http://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn > > To set DIGEST or VACATION modes, use the Wisbirdn web interface at: > > http://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn > > Visit Wisbirdn ARCHIVES at: http://www.freelists.org/archives/wisbirdn > > > > > > > #################### > You received this email because you are subscribed to the Wisconsin > Birding Network (Wisbirdn). > To UNSUBSCRIBE or SUBSCRIBE, use the Wisbirdn web interface at: > http://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn > To set DIGEST or VACATION modes, use the Wisbirdn web interface at: > http://www.freelists.org/list/wisbirdn > Visit Wisbirdn ARCHIVES at: http://www.freelists.org/archives/wisbirdn > > >