This week a photographer posted a photo of a Piping Plover on the Friends of Hagerman Facebook Page. The individual who posted noted the presence of two different color leg bands on the bird. Jack Chiles responded with a website especially for reporting banded Piping Plovers. Visitors at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge may also spot other migratory birds that have been banded.
According to the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory, bird banding has a long history. “ The first record of a metal band attached to a bird's leg was about 1595 when one of Henry IV's banded Peregrine Falcons was lost in pursuit of a bustard in France. It showed up 24 hours later in Malta, about 1350 miles away, averaging 56 miles an hour!” Through a banding in about 1669, a Grey Heron was found later to have lived at least 60 years. Another Grey Heron was found to have traveled more than 1200 miles, from Turkey to Germany.
John James Audubon first reported banding and retrieval in America in 1803. In 1899 a bird banding system was developed in Denmark that is the model for modern banding programs. In 1920 the Bureau of Biological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service took over previous efforts in the U.S. and Canada and the North American banding program has been a joint effort to oversee the activities of dedicated banders all over the world ever since.
Anyone reporting will be asked to answer multiple choice questions regarding their role (individual, bander, wildlife official), type band, etc., as well as species, if known and other details. Those reporting will receive a certificate of appreciation. Reporting bands adds to the ability of scientists to study bird migration, populations, longevity and more.