Monday, June 1, 2009

Ring Around the Albatross

Above: A banded adult wearing 1 plastic field readable band on the right, and a permanent Fish and Wildlife Service stainless steel band on the left. They need to be durable. There are albatross on the island that have a 50+ year resight history.

Below: Chicks with bands

Bird banding or "ringing" as it is known in Europe is a way for researchers to keep track of individuals. This is required in order to quantify vital rates like survival and recruitment (the number of chicks that enter the breeding population.) The Moli is considered vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN. This means it is important to monitor the population so problems can be addressed before it is too late. Today I spent a few hours reading bands on albatross chicks. This is called a re-sight survey, and is similar to what we do with the Laysan Ducks. It is much eisier for albatross because they only have one chick that more or less sits in the same spot all the time. So, rather than being stealthy with binoculars, we just walk right up and read the bands.

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