[Tweeters] RE: dippers and banding

Christine Southwick clsouth at u.washington.edu
Fri Aug 15 15:11:18 PDT 2014

Banding may not be the Best scientific study for American Dippers.
I don't personally know.

Tt would be useful to find out the age of the banded dippers. If there are banded dippers who live the normal life span of dippers, then it would
appear that bands don't necessarily effect all dippers, even though to us it appears to make them ungainly.

As part of a census of wintering birds in backyard habitats, Puget Sound Bird Observatory(PSBO)actively banded in local backyards for five winters, specifically with
the intention of finding what types of winter habitats they needed/used, and wintering site fidelity. PSBO used a USGS-approved colored-banding project to study these
birds even when it was raining
(The welfare of birds is always the paramount guideline--more important than any scientific data, and banders follows the "Banders Code of Ethics")--I can send a copy
of these rules to all who are interested.

Banding has been shown to be the safest way to study birds, with the least amount of trauma, and the least amount of side affects.--I can also send you a copy of the
newest study in the US, "How Safe Is Mist Netting? First Large-Scale Study Into Bird Capture Technique Evaluates the Risks" .

Two of the birds banded in my yard lived at least 6 documented years --both males breeding--a Spotted Towhee, and an Oregon Junco. I have pictures of both birds over
the years, and several pictures of the Oregon Junco bringing and feeding his young in the yard (never found the nests, but didn't really look too hard--didn't want to
disturb ground nesters). Obviously, even though both these males were ground feeders and nesters, the bands didn't impede their movements, nor their ability to win
mates and breed. Several of the Black-capped Chickadees(BCCH) have lived at three years, and two BCCH banded in Oct 2012 each raised broods this year. I had a pair of
Chestnut-backed Chickadees(CBCH) that were yard residents, and probably nested in "my" alder snag, that had 183 documented visits to the feeders (motion-activated
camera), before one of them disappeared (and presumed died) after an ice storm. The other CBCH was seen for another year. The Song Sparrows in my yard were not
color-banded, so I can't be sure how many times a particular bird was seen, but I still have several (seen at the same time) Song Sparrows sporting bands--and we
haven't banded in my yard for two years...

And Wisdom the Laysan Albatross, as the (presumed) World's oldest wild bird gave birth last year at the ripe old age of 63 - making her a mother for the 35th time,
was first banded in 1956, and has worn out three bands, and is still living. Banding obviously did not/has not affected her, and has allowed scientists to collect
useful data that can help other seabirds.

That really is the reason for banding--to help protect birds by learning where birds live and travel, the habitats they use and need, and data to back up the
assertions that areas not being "profitably used by humans" are needed to sustain birds, be they migrating or local.

Christine Southwick
Puget Sound Bird Observatory
clsouthwick at pugetsoundbirds.org

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