Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Last Night (in a Bar)

A guy (me) walks into a bar...

The rest of the joke usually follows a pattern that ends with a punchline but when you're a biologist there often isn't a punchline. Like last night. I went to Merlins Rest in Minneapolis for this months Birds and Beers and as I walk up to the crowded table Birdchick yells "Roger, I've got something for you" and proceeds to hand me a dead birds foot with a band around it.

Unlike most people, I got really excited.

It turns out that Sharon found a dead White-breasted Nuthatch in a seed bin at Mr. Neil's and being the good bander she is, checked the legs for a band. Lo and behold there it was. Of course because we band at Mr. Neil's we are sure the band is one of mine. Sharon is going to report the number to the BBL and will receive a nice certificate in return.

I would like to encourage everyone to develop the habit of checking any dead bird you come across for the presence of a USFWS band. The whole usefulness of banding is in the return of band information. Don't be squeamish, use your foot if need be, talk a friend (a good friend) into picking the bird up for you, do whatever it takes. We banders are always hoping for that next bit of data to appear.

3 comments:

Kirk Mona said...

Wait a minute, who are these "most people" you refer to who don't get excited by a disembodied and banded bird leg? They don't sound worth handing out with.

Beverly said...

Hard to miss jewelry on a dead bird! I've never found any...

Unless the bird dies as a result of hitting a window...I toss them in the garbage. It seems very sad, but I feel I'm protecting other birds from any disease the poor dead bird might have suffered. Actually, if I can grab the sick bird (nearly dead by that time), I’d put its out of its misery...which kinda grosses me out. Will karma come to get me...I mean...in a bad way?

[sigh] Anyway, birds I find with broken necks (less frequently now that I've draped my new huge picture window with black nylon netting), I take to my local raptor center (dead or no). Hey, confined birds of prey need to eat, no? They are well received.

dAwN said...

Thanks for the tip...i never thought to look to see if a dead bird had a band...I will now...