[Tweeters] RE: dippers and banding

Christine Southwick clsouth at u.washington.edu
Mon Aug 18 10:52:25 PDT 2014

I know that some people are not a fan of banding, and that some may think it is torturous for the birds. The fact remains that banding is, at this time, the best way to track/follow birds and compile data to prove to government officials and developers, that birds are using specific pieces of land, specific migration routes, and/or require specific habitat in order to survive.
There are different bands used for landbirds, waterbirds, raptors, etc., and studies are being done to find the most suited for special species.

Donnie Dipper's statement,
" Most all observatories do not keep a record of injury or mortality, during the netting process. Even your own observatory does not keep any public record of such events. The Bird Bander’s Guide states not to let the public know if a bird has died or been injured. The Spottswood paper was accepted by the banding community because it made them look good, but it is an good example of selective data usage, nothing more. " is incorrect.

Puget Sound Bird Observatory (PSBO) reports any and all injuries, no matter if pre-existing or a result of banding.

All our banders have taken hands-on-courses, and work conscientiously to maintain, and/or improve, safe handling of all birds. Wild entities may often have cancers, chemical imbalances (or pesticide/herbicide poisoning) that are the cause deaths. The few birds that I have seen that have died (and I have been banding since 2003), were either old, had lice/pox/ or some other disease, or were starving (fat of zero). I have never seen a death that was caused by fright (we let all birds go immediately if there are any signs of stress--and our banders have all been taught to watch for signs of stress), or bad handling. I do know of some birds that have been killed while in the nets by opportunistic predators --I have heard of wind causing some injuries, before the nets could be closed. No one,least of all someone who is actively working with a bird, likes to see or know about a bird death. It makes us feel bad, and can lead to misunderstanding about the effectiveness and ben!
eficial aspects of banding.

All banding stations are required to submit scientific data from each bird that is caught in the net--that includes any injuries and if any deaths. All the information is sent annually to the Bird Banding Lab, as part of the USGS requirement. There is no public posting, because most banding stations have a minimum of volunteers (here at PSBO, all work full-time elsewhere),
and the data would require long explanations to make any sense to the public...
(for example, a BCCH, AHY no CP, no BP, fat of 3--basically means that it is a Black-capped Chickadee,adult, not able to tell whether it is male or female (monomorphic birds can only be sexed during active breeding), and is actively feeding and healthy with a fat level of 3.] There is much more data taken for each bird, most of which seems immaterial to someone who does not actively study bird measurements. The collecting of this data takes about two minutes in the hands of an experienced bander.

PSBO reports the very small number of birds that might show injuries, including those that the bird may have had before touching the net, and all, if any, that might die per season.
That is part of our permit requirements.

And have no doubts about it--WE BAND THESE BIRDS TO HELP SAVE BIRDS IN GENERAL, AND SPECIFIC SPECIES IN PARTICULAR. And in order to band, before a permit is issued, we must have a valid, and approved by USGS, study to be issued a permit.

We don't get paid for this work. It is usually hot and buggy, or cold and chilly, and about four hours outside, usually without bathroom facilities. We do this because we LOVE BIRDS. AND WE WANT THEM TO SURVIVE. Having data to prove where birds are is vitally important. It make it harder for developers to ignore.

Pesticides, cats, window strikes, and tall structures cause thousand times more deaths per year then banding altogether has ever caused. People could focus on these dangers, as opposed to vilifying people who are working to protect and save birds in general, and some species in particular.

Christine Southwick
Puget Sound Bird Observatory
clsouthwick at q.com

On Sat, 16 Aug 2014, Donnie Dipper wrote:

> Date: Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:43:29 -0700

> From: Donnie Dipper <dipper at e-picturebookdesigners.com>

> To: tweeters at uw.edu

> Cc: clsouth at u.washington.edu, ucd880 at comcast.net

> Subject: RE: dippers and banding


> I want to respond the the statements made. My video did not make the statement that unbanded dippers would automatically live out a full lifespan. That is absurd. What

> is does say is that only a handful are ever seen after the third year of banding. Every study on the American Dipper the mortality rates in the study was much higher

> than the average for other birds. Dippers do not migrate the way other birds do and stay in the same watershed for their lifetime. Everything I have learned about the

> dipper has come from close observation, thousands of hours of observation. There was no need to band them to understand their habitat needs, what the ate, how they

> reacted to predators, territory boundaries, or sex. Banding just to hope to get that one bird that will out live the others in its species is another absurdity. We

> already know what is the average lifespan of most all birds.

> In response to the other message: Again there is no importance to knowing the age of a banded dipper; it is just a human curiosity. Considering that so few survive,

> and the fact I have proven that their is a danger with banding dippers, it would just amount to torturing these birds for the joy of it. There are not banded dippers

> who live the normal lifespan, these has only been one, not a good percentage out of thousands that have been banded. To say that just because one bird has lived a

> lucky life is not a testament to banding safety. The example of the Albatross, tells me that there does not need to be anymore Albatrosses banded because this one has

> given all the answers needed. But, it also raises the question what happened to all the other Albatrosses that have been banded? Using one out of thousands to make a

> point is not quality science.

> Since you opened discussion on the other aspects of banding I want to respond to them as well.


> You have created a habitat in your backyard and if you have teamed with your neighbors, I do not understand any need to band birds there. Counting and observation

> would tell you what you should already know. Banding does not help with an understanding of a bird's habitat needs, it is in fact another human interference with the

> birds. Which can lead them to find another place to visit. Understanding habitat loss and effects of pollution is an observational understanding and that has nothing

> to do with banding a bird.


> The Spottswood paper on the safety of mist netting, that you refer to is not a good or honest reflection of mist netting. She contacted only 22 banding stations, out

> of the over 2000 stations in North America, and then only used some of the data from 13 of those 22 stations. Most all observatories do not keep a record of injury or

> mortality, during the netting process. Even your own observatory does not keep any public record of such events. The Bird Bander’s Guide states not to let the public

> know if a bird has died or been injured. The Spottswood paper was accepted by the banding community because it made them look good, but it is an good example of

> selective data usage, nothing more.


> Thank you all for watching my video.

> http://youtu.be/nv1c7qZsh7g?list=PLUKk3XDNAVpXWl8UsH82d7HcSP3bgAtGD


> Donnie

> Port Angeles, WA

> dipper at e-picturebookdesigners.com



> Much of we know, or need to know, about natural resources needs to be based on individuals with a known history. Unless you can track an individual, you

> can't know the age. The radio tagging has shown migration routes that were totally unexpected. There is an ongoing discussion within fisheries and wildlife

> researchers as to the proper techniques to use.

> As to the Dippers, if (as seems to be claimed) the unbanded birds would all live out a full lifespan, which must be more than 9 years because that was

> based on a band, the rivers would be full of them. Something is eating or killing the unbanded ones, too.


> This is not to say that one should just "Ring and fling" to their heart's content. Marking should be used when it is the only way to obtain the desired

> information.




> Hal Michael

> Olympia WA

> 360-459-4005 (H)

> 360-791-7702 (C)

> ucd880 at comcast.net


> ----- Original Message -----


> 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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