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Ronnie,

You are welcome. We not only band birds at MRBO, but we focus on community outreach and education. This directly helps birds and their habitats in dynamic ways as more people learn about the importance of bird habitats and conservation. Bands do not effect bird mobility. Numerous studies have measured the effects of banding on birds. If it were to harmful to the birds, we wouldn't do it! Specifically with Northern Saw-whet Owls, we witness nightly (via the Saw-whet listserve) recaptures throughout North America of birds that were banded in years previous. I respect your right to an opinion, too. You may have already made-up your mind. I, as a biologist and forever a student of the humanities, do not hold any opinion when evidence amounts to the contrary.

Bird monitoring is a continuum as countless man-made changes to our environment perpetuate threats to the environment. Beginning with the presumption of ending bird banding is an error. Unless human-kind halts negative influences on the environment. So your question is strange to me. I think you're right in that we need to increase standardization of banding protocols so that the data can be used to its fullest extent for decisions such as habitat conservation.

Without banding, we would never have know the extent of the NSWO range. How could you measure a population or even consider habitat for this species without knowledge of it? All of the birds banded each year equals about .0005% of the estimated mortality due to cats, cars and windows. Since you are concerned about the health and safety of the birds, there are many places that you can direct your efforts that would accomplish much more.


Ethan

Ethan C. Duke, Assistant Director
Missouri River Bird Observatory
website: www.mrbo.org
blog: http://mrbohappenings.blogspot.com/
660.886.8788

On 6 Nov 2011, at 7:40 PM, Ronny & Sue Berry wrote:

> Thanks for you reply and explanations.
>  
> But I still do not understand how a man-made object attached to an owl helps the species.  Yes, a band can provide general research data for man but does such a band help the owl, its required habitat, or its feeding success?  Not in my opinion.
>  
> Even more important, how has past historical banding data been applied by those researchers so that all future banding can be halted and those resources placed into known habitat preserved and conserved?
>  
> I am most more interested in the viability of the species and its habitat.  But that is just me - hope you understand.
>  
> We have a difference of opinion on the value of banding but we both want to conserve the owl and its habitat.
>  
> Again, thanks for listening as well as your reply.
>  
> Ronny Berry
> [log in to unmask]
> 816-781-0455
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ethan Duke <[log in to unmask]>
> To: MOBIRDS-L <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Sun, Nov 6, 2011 6:16 pm
> Subject: no sightings Owl banding and more
> 
> Hi Ronny,
> 
> Great question and it has many answers. In the case of NSWOs, we in the conservation community are rapidly gaining a more complete understanding of them. For a more complete and eloquent description than I could provide in a timely fashion visit www.projectowlnet.org, where I liberated the nice piece which follows my text. Here is an excerpt:
> 
> "Because they are highly nocturnal, rarely vocalize outside the breeding season and are extremely hard to detect in daytime, the presence of large numbers of migrant saw-whet owls in the autumn was overlooked for centuries. Even after evidence began to surface in the early 1900s that this species is a regular migrant in North America, it was another 60 years before its migration was widely accepted."
> 
> In general, banding is a tool used for to answer a number of questions. For instance, if you observe a number of birds in "breeding season" using a particular area, does that mean that it is a good site and good habitat? Just because birds are nesting there, doesn't mean that it is a good place for them. They may not be producing enough young to sustain population levels. This is what we refer to as a "sink". Where as a truly productive area is termed a "source."  Elucidating these measures require long-term monitoring of exactly how successful the birds are in rearing their young in particular area. While banding birds in migration, we collect a large amount of data on each bird (age, sex, fat & muscle scores, other physical measurements, etc.) Answers to questions about migration timing, population trends, recruitment, and health can be answered in this way.
> There are other methods for monitoring birds and those involved with conservation are becoming increasingly aware that monitoring is an essential part of management. 
> 
> I hope this interests you as well as answers your question!
> Ethan
> 
> 
> Ethan C. Duke, Assistant Director
> Missouri River Bird Observatory
> website: www.mrbo.org
> blog: http://mrbohappenings.blogspot.com/
> 660.886.8788
> 
> 
> 
> From Project Owlnet...
> "Because they are highly nocturnal, rarely vocalize outside the breeding season and are extremely hard to detect in daytime, the presence of large numbers of migrant saw-whet owls in the autumn was overlooked for centuries. Even after evidence began to surface in the early 1900s that this species is a regular migrant in North America, it was another 60 years before its migration was widely accepted.
> In the early 1800s, Alexander Wilson referred to the saw-whet owl as “a general and constant inhabitant of the Middle and Northern States,” (Brewer 1840) while Audubon believed it was a resident breeder as far south as Louisiana (Ford 1957). Coues, Bendire and other late nineteenth-century ornithologists, while by then holding a more accurate view of the saw-whet owl’s breeding range, considered it either resident or at best weakly migratory at its northern limits (Coues 1874, Bendire 1892).
> That assessment began to change in the early twentieth century, with reports from Lake Huron that a steamer boat captain experienced a fallout of “small owls” in the fall of 1903, and in October 1906, when an early snowstorm forced huge numbers of exhausted migrants to the water, where they drowned. Among the 1,845 birds counted by Saunders (1907) were 24 dead Northern Saw-whet Owls, whose presence he called “a surprise… Evidently they migrate in considerable numbers.”
> Around the same time, ornithologists noted that saw-whets could be found commonly in autumn at Point Pelee and Long Point in Lake Erie, and concluded that “from the middle to the end of October the Saw-whet Owls migrate in considerable numbers, but from their nocturnal habits and secluded habitats while en route are seldom observed” (Taverner and Swales 1911). Not everyone was convinced, however. In 1938, Bent said only that the saw-whet owl “evidently migrates to some extent, or at least wanders widely, in fall” (Bent 1938), and a number of authors through the 1950s and 1960s continued to list the saw-whet owl as a permanent resident in regions like the upper Midwest (Wood 1951, Gromme 1963).
> In the 1960s, Mueller and Berger (1967) at the Cedar Grove Ornithological Station in southern Wisconsin finally settled the question of migration status, showing that predictable numbers of saw-whet owls could be netted at night, even though the species was never detected there during the day, and vocalizations were never heard. The autumn of 1965 also marked what may still rank as the largest irruption of saw-whet owls ever recorded, with encounters as far south as Florida (Lesser and Stickley 1967). In the early 1970s, other banding sites in the upper Midwest followed Cedar Grove’s lead. After 15 years of traditional mist netting for migrant owls, in 1986, Tom Erdman of Little Suamico Ornithological Station north of Green Bay, Wisconsin began using a tape-recording of the male saw-whet’s advertising “toot” call, and experienced a more than 10-fold increase in the number of saw-whet owls caught versus passive netting (Erdman and Brinker 1997).
> This audiolure technique spread to other saw-whet owl banding stations, with similar results, and researchers began to employ it in the East – at Cape May, N.J., where passive netting had begun in 1980, and where introduction of an audiolure in 1989 caused a six-fold rise in capture rates (Duffy and Kerlinger 1992, Duffy and Matheny 1997), and at Finzel Swamp, MD, where capture rates rose nearly four-fold (Erdman and Brinker 1997).
> Interest in saw-whet owl banding increased in the southern mid-Atlantic region in the early 1990s, with stations opening on Sandy Point, MD, in 1990; Assateague Island, MD, in 1991; Casselman River, MD, in 1992; and Cape Charles, VA, in 1994 (Brinker et al 1997). At the time, saw-whet owls were generally considered rare or at best uncommon migrants to the region (Robbins and Van Velzen 1968).
> The first well-documented  irruption of saw-whet owls in 1995, however, changed that perception. The five sites operating in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia accounted for an astounding 35% of the more than 7,400 saw-whet owls banded in North America that autumn. Cape May, which the previous year had netted 73 saw-whet owls, captured 637; Cape Charles, which caught 52 in 1994, banded 1,007 in 1995 (Brinker et al, 1997). In all, the five mid-Atlantic sites reported 2,596 of these “rare” owls. (Brinker et al 1997)
> Just prior to the 1995 irruption, Dave Brinker, an ecologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources who, beginning in Wisconsin, had studied saw-whet owls for 20 years, conceived the idea of a collaborative network. Project Owlnet, which was based on Operation Recovery, the landbird banding effort of the 1960s, grew from a series of five cooperating saw-whet stations in Maryland, including one operated by Steve Huy, and from discussions with colleagues in Wisconsin.
> Soon, sites in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, West Virginia, North Carolina and Cape Charles, VA were added. In 1997, a network of stations was established in Pennsylvania, and many of the existing Great Lakes and Canadian sites joined. The SAWWHETNET listserve began operation in 1998, and the irruption of 1999 prompted the founding of many more sites. By 2010, the Owlnet umbrella included more than 300 researchers representing more than 100 banding stations in Canada and the U.S., with a growing presence in the poorly studied intermountain West, coastal ranges and Alaska, western Canada, and the American Southeast. While saw-whet owl migration remains a primary focus, participants increasingly explore the movements of other species, including Boreal and Long-eared owls.
> (Adapted from S. Weidensaul, “Migration and wintering ecology of northern saw-whet owls” in Pennsylvania Studies in Avian Ecology and Conservation, Majumdar et al, eds. Pennsylvania Academy of Science, 2010.)"
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On 6 Nov 2011, at 4:14 PM, Ronny & Sue Berry wrote:
> 
>> How does human banding help the owl?
>> 
>> Ronny Berry
>> [log in to unmask]
>> 816-781-0455
>> 
>> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Ethan Duke <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: MOBIRDS-L <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Sat, Nov 5, 2011 8:08 pm
>> Subject: 9 NSWOs in Marshall Missouri
>> 
>> We have banded 9 NSWO (Northern Saw-whet Owl) in Marshall since banding attempts 
>> began on 30 Oct. The brief north winds brought in 5 to the nets last night as 
>> our interns/staff (Stephanie Putnam, Ryan Davis, and Brittany Woody) banded as  
>> Dana and I were off :(
>> 
>> Keep your eyes peeled for the "little punkins."
>> 
>> 
>> Ethan
>> 
>>  
>> 
>> Ethan C. Duke, Assistant Director
>> Missouri River Bird Observatory
>> website: www.mrbo.org
>> blog: http://mrbohappenings.blogspot.com/
>> 660.886.8788
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
>> ASM Spring Meeting: April 27, 2012 in Joplin, MO
>> http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx
> 
> 
> On 6 Nov 2011, at 4:14 PM, Ronny & Sue Berry wrote:
> 
>> How does human banding help the owl?
>> 
>> Ronny Berry
>> [log in to unmask]
>> 816-781-0455
>> 
>> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Ethan Duke <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: MOBIRDS-L <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Sat, Nov 5, 2011 8:08 pm
>> Subject: 9 NSWOs in Marshall Missouri
>> 
>> We have banded 9 NSWO (Northern Saw-whet Owl) in Marshall since banding attempts 
>> began on 30 Oct. The brief north winds brought in 5 to the nets last night as 
>> our interns/staff (Stephanie Putnam, Ryan Davis, and Brittany Woody) banded as  
>> Dana and I were off :(
>> 
>> Keep your eyes peeled for the "little punkins."
>> 
>> 
>> Ethan
>> 
>>  
>> 
>> Ethan C. Duke, Assistant Director
>> Missouri River Bird Observatory
>> website: www.mrbo.org
>> blog: http://mrbohappenings.blogspot.com/
>> 660.886.8788
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
>> ASM Spring Meeting: April 27, 2012 in Joplin, MO
>> http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
> List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html


------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
List archives: https://po.missouri.edu/archives/mobirds-l.html