October 14th – A Serious Protest!

I was more than a little surprised when I arrived to find a large flock of Dark-eyed Juncos arrayed across the parking lot. They were obviously agitated and many were carrying placards that read: “Retraps Are Birds Too!!”. Despite the venting of strong emotion I was able to determine that the basis for this protest was their indignation that birds that are “banded” seem to be more highly regarded than birds that are “just retraps”. And, as Juncos are retrapped with regularity, they want to be regarded as having the same status – new banding or not. I pointed out to them that their concerns were really unfounded as retrapped birds are given equal status to banded birds (i.e., 25% each) when determining Daily Estimated Totals. I further explained that being regarded as “just retraps” occurs in banders’ minds simply because of the banders’ frustration at their having to generate a lot more paperwork (i.e., retrap cards) to account for them. But, really, they just loved retraps. And then (the icing on the cake), I pointed out the critical importance of retraps on a day like today when, because of the rain (1 cm since last night and still going) and the fact that a class of kids was coming at any time, they were needed as critical display models for the children. This last point seemed to carry the day and, somewhat shamefacedly, they quickly discarded their signs and marched into the traps and the single (easily monitored) net, just as the school bus arrived. And everyone was happy! (We closed the net and traps as soon as the banding demo was finished and went on to do a census.)

Banded 10:
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Purple Finch
3 House Finches

Retrapped 20:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Blue Jay
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
15 Dark-eyed Juncos (hence the protest!)

ET’s: 34 spp.


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