Friday, May 13, 2011

Banding the Falcons of 55 Water

In light of the situation over at NYU, the reasons for banding raptors are be re-evaluated.
On the pro-banding side, the NYS and Fish and Wildlife compile the invaluable raw data that such tagging inevitably provides.
On the anti-banding side, we have the fact that no matter how skilled or experienced the tagger, something can eventually go wrong at one time or another. The potential for catastrophe is high when dealing with raptors as they need to be in top form to survive in the wild. It was in this light that I re-visited the falcons at 55 Water St. to see this process close up to try to tease out the facts from such a contentious subject.
To start with, the female peregrine at 55 Water would not leave the nest and had to be hand captured before any babies could be removed.

Chris was very calm and professional and at no time was the bird put through any unnecessary handling.

One of the chicks was significantly smaller than the rest, so Runty couldnt be banded.

Carefully sized, fitted and tags recorded.

Its also a great time to assess the health of the chicks with frounce, mites and tick checks.

One final observation was that afterward, the chicks were aversive to human presence and called loudly if anyone came too close to the carrier.

Having some early adverse human conditioning is actually a good thing for wild animals. Lets hope this is their last encounter with us!

All in all, I can still say that banding has definite merits. When and where it does go wrong, those with the most experience in the business of capturing and rehabbing raptors should be allowed to rectify the matter if at all possible.

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