Sydney Sacred Ibis/Sulphur Crested Cockatoo tagging...

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Raven
Raven's picture
Sydney Sacred Ibis/Sulphur Crested Cockatoo tagging...

In the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph newspapers mention has been made in the past couple of weeks of a bird tagging programme underway in the Sydney CBD.

The birds concerned are the Sacred Ibis and Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, a common sight in the city and neighbouring suburbs.  The birds have a bright yellow tag attached to their right wing with a three digit number in black.  I have seen a couple of Sacred Ibis wandering about, one at Milsons Point and the other in Hyde Park with the tags attached.

They are endeavouring to track the movement of these birds, are they local?  do they stay?  or do they move about the metro area?  In the Telegraph article they failed to mention where to report sightings to?  I forgot the one mentioned in the SMH.  Did anyone read these articles and remember where to report to?  Thanks in advance...Raven.

richman

I have seen up to the number 70 on the wingtags which is far too many for auch an irrelevent study.  I also remember seeing number 001 when he turned up at my place covered in blood from the barbaric tagging when it first started. This is an evil practice and anyone who supports it is supporting cruelty to free sovereign creatures. One of the birds in particular that I knew was tagged had a mate who wanted nothing to do with her after she was tagged. She has managed to bite the tags out now and they seem to be together again but I have noticed tagged birds are rarely observed, by me, with mates.

How many of you would like to be cruelly and violently captured against your will, shoved in a bag and carried to the Botanic gardens offices and then have the equivalent of a parking sign spiked into your arm flesh and them have to fly with it?

I have witnessed the rangers capturing some of my cockatoo friends and it was a very nasty experience. 

I have attached a picture of one of my friends wing tag that is causing him wing damage. This an all too common situation and I have personally witnessed many tags that are damaged and hanging at awkward angles causing discomfort to the poor victims.

I want this practise stopped and implore all intelligent people to rally against this ridiculous, aggressive and useless study. 

Araminta
Araminta's picture

I am as appalled about this as you are,richman.

This raises a few questions. What authority has approved this way of wing tagging ? By whom was the tagging carried out? Were they qualified to do this? Were veterinarians present to supervise ? Most importantly to me though, this looks like cruelty to our native birds. Last but not least, is any suffering inflicted on any animals justified , just to get some data. If I look at the bird in the photo, NO!

Shouldn't we all prevent cruelty to animals rather than inflict it?

Like you, I want this practise stopped.

M-L

rawshorty
rawshorty's picture

That is just shocking, why do they need to do this?

Might i suggest you send the pics to the RSPCA and if you get no satisfaction from them maybe contact one of the current affair shows.

Shorty......Canon gear

Canberra

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rawshorty/ 

Woko
Woko's picture

Wing tagging? Ridiculous not to mention painful & disruptive if richman's observations are anything to go by. What's wrong with leg banding if bird movements need to be tracked?

And what will happen to the information collected? Will it be used to enhance bird habitat or will it lie on a dusty shelf, a monument to bureaucratic power?

mtck
mtck's picture

The tags in the photo are cattle tags and would be quite heavy for a bird to carry in its wing. It seems very strange that any scientific study would use these type of tags as they have no electronic element and therefore tracking the birds would be limited to an actual visual sighting. One hopes it is not some cruel joke that has received some press and everybody thinks its kosher. By the way, the large front tag costs around $1 and the small backing pin costs approx 60cents. Expensive little exercise if its for real.

richman

Here are the pics of their first one back in 2011.

These pics show damage to both wings and although No-001 has gone on the be healthy and hale it is still a blight having the tags and I have never seen no-001 with a mate (I see him every few days and pretty much have since he was tagged) he's a top little bloke and features in a lot of the pics on their facebook page. Some of which are taken the building I live in.

It is definitely done by the botanic gardens as I have contacted them regarding the process and my local member as well as Clover Moore Lord Mayor of Sydney. All gave confirmation after a short investigation.

They have done at least 70 surely this is enough for their ridiculously basic and cruel study. Yet they are calling for more volunteer funding to carry on the cruelty. Will they continue til every bird in Sydney is tagged?

I say we start a study of the "Peculiar Ranger" we should tag them with massive tags visible from space and track their movements. Simply because I am curious where they go... Especially track their internet usage to see the perverted animal cruelty sight they get their jollies from.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/nsw-cockatoos-studied-with-new-app/story-fn3dxiwe-1226625674852 https://www.facebook.com/CockatooWingtags/info

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/tagged-cockies-get-own-facebook-page-as-fans-track-their-movements-20120320-1vi0v.html

Thanks so much richman for caringyes I had a look at the countless links and reports about this on Google. I haven't had a look at the facebook pages yet. I'm sure you have. Is there any place you I can voice my protest to this? I can't be the only one wanting to do this?

I also just read that this research will go on for years to come. I still have more questions.

These poor birds will now live with those heavy cattle tags for the rest of their lives? If they don't die prematurely, they can carry those tags for many years.

I would like to know how many birds they have tagged so far?

Would you think that volunteers are qualified to handle birds and attach those tags?

Many more questions than answersangry

M-L

richman

Thank You Araminta

I saw number 70 about 6 weeks ago so that means they have probably up to about 80 birds tagged. That is only a guestimate as I don't have any other data apart from what I observe, what I have seen on the web and the original vague info provided to me by the Botanic Gardens and the politicians I have contacted.

When they first put up the Facebook page they allowed comments so I posted the bloody pics of 001 and was quite scathing. Needless to say they managed to get rid of it and blocked comments. People who post pictures are able to have some typed entries so there must be a way. 

Having witnessed them capturing the birds for tagging in front of me I can tell you I don't think anyone should be allowed to catch birds in that manner. Let me tell you I am a middle aged man (and no wimp either) I am not ashamed to say it reduced me to tears. I shooed my friends (birds) away but the friends of the captured birds were hanging around screeching at the rangers to let their friends go not to mention the cries of the absolutely terrified captured birds that were in the bags. I can tell you I get upset thinking about it.

The campaign seems to be asking for volunteers to send in pics and donate money not capture the birds.

richman

If anyone wishes to complain about the practise of wingtagging (and I encourage all to do so) send your complaints to.

cockatoo.wingtag@gmail.com

Phone: (02) 9231 8058

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Thanks richman, I have just writted an e-mail to them, voicing my objection to this barbaric practice. Please all you bird lovers out there, do the same.

M-L

Woko
Woko's picture

Thanks for the email address, richman. I've voiced my concern, not to mention horror.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Can't wait for their response, if they ever will? Had a look at the FB page, hundreds of people are taking part and love it. I fear, we will be the lone voices yet again. As my husband always says, what else is new? He was almost in tears when I showed him the photos.

M-L

richman

It is a reality that we have to get to these people too. Showing them that the "fun facebook activity" has an evil side is paramount. When I get some more time I will start a campaign including FB and a world-wide Petition site. There are so many Cockatoo lovers in the states as they have many as pets over there. a Short search of youtube is enough to see how many are out there.

Thanks for the support and your love for birds.

Woko
Woko's picture

And thanks to raven for raising awareness of this sorry issue.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Today I did get a resonse to my e-mail, voicing my concren. Here is a copy of the e-mail:

Hi ,

We appreciate your concern for the cockatoos. Below we provide answers to your questions.

The cockatoo research project, including the use of cattle ear tags, has been approved by the University of Sydney Animal Ethics Committee, the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. These regulatory authorities have granted approval following an assessment of the research questions being asked, the experience of the researchers and the proposed research methods. The capture and tagging of each cockatoo has been conducted under my supervision.

For the 73 cockatoos wing-tagged to date we have not had, nor required, the presence of a vet.

The project is on-going as such additional cockatoos will be tagged. As you note the cockatoos will permanently carry the tags. Thus far we have shown that the wing-tagging method is appropriate and successful for cockatoos. We have recorded several thousand movements, the largest are over 20km. We have also observed tagged cockatoos successfully fledge chicks. Importantly we have recorded no welfare issues.

I am aware of a picture of a bird with some blood on its wing; I can tell you that in the picture I have seen the blood is the result of the bird loosing a feather, not the result of the tag. I am also aware of a picture of a bird with a tag sitting raised off the wing; it is likely that this bird will remove this tag shortly, as has been observed for a small number of birds. If you have many pictures of injured birds please send them to me as this is important information that will guide our research methods. That is, if there is a welfare issue we want to know about it so we can ensure it is addressed.

Lastly, the wing-tag is very light (~4g) compared with a >800g cockatoo and no welfare issues have been observed, including entanglement.

Capture and tagging has involved some volunteers under direct supervision. The tagging process is quick and the birds are released within a few minutes. Importantly, we have resighted every tagged bird indicating that this method works and that the birds are doing well.

Kind regards John

John.Martin@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

M-L

mtck
mtck's picture

Hello Araminta,

Their response to your email is interesting if for nothing else to highlight the fact they are not telling us what the research project is, what are they trying to achieve, what the outcomes will be, how will they measure the results etc etc etc

I still dont get how they can do a scientific study using plain old cattle tags - they aren't going to help track the bird(s). And the results can easily be skewed - if a tagged bird disappears to Lake Eyre or is hit by a vehicle on the F1 or whatever, how will they know?

I know it sounds like l'm pushing the conspiracy bit, but it really sounds dodgy to me.

Woko
Woko's picture

Here's the response I've had from Wildlife Officer John Martin. He didn't give the name of his agency.

"We appreciate your concern for the cockatoos.

The cockatoo research project, including the use of cattle ear tags, has been approved by the University of Sydney Animal Ethics Committee, the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. These regulatory authorities have granted approval following an assessment of the research questions being asked, the experience of the researchers and the proposed research methods.

For this study we could not use leg bands as it is very difficult to resight the cockatoos short legs and there is very limited space to fit multiple colour bands. Consequently, we have demonstrated that wing-tags can be used safely and effectively. Importantly, wing-tags have been used on a range of birds since the 1970’s. In all of these studies the wing-tags have been permanent and our study is no exception.

To date the project has been an overwhelming success with over 5000 resightings of the tagged cockatoos. We have recorded several thousand movements, the largest are over 20km. We have also observed tagged cockatoos breeding and successfully fledge their chicks. There is a wealth of behavioural and foraging data that we are continuing to collect. This information will be published in the peer reviewed scientific literature. Importantly, we have resighted every tagged bird indicating that this method works and that the birds are doing well."

After reading this & John's response to Araminta I'm none the wiser on the purpose of the research (except that it seems to have something to do with movements & other behaviours) & am not convinced about the efficacy of the use of cattle tags. Perhaps I'm being unduly upset by the birds carrying large objects on their wings but it all seems rather amateurish to me, notwithstanding the approval of three regulatory authorities for the research project.  

pacman
pacman's picture

When I started reading this thread it raised a number of issues for me, eg purpose of the study, approval of the tags and training/supervision of the volunteers.  I believe that each of the issues has been logicaly addressed in either the Facebook page or the emails received by Araminta and Woko. I am not on Facebook and therefore could not search further there but from the Botanic Gardens website I note that similar research with use of cattle tags is occurring on Australian White Ibis. I seem to also recall cattle tags being used for research on shorebirds but can't recall more than that. For those that wish to protest further I suggest that you contact the relevant head of department at both the Botanic Gardens and the Uni.                                                                                        

Peter

richman

I have had the same response as the others posted here. This is my reply (which I emailed back to them) 

Thank you Mr Martin.
I do not care who approved the tagging of these birds. The matter at hand is that it is cruel and disrespectful conduct to a fellow creature. Look at the images I supplied. This is unacceptable. If ONE bird is damaged or even inconvenienced the practice is wrong. It is a destructive survey simply for curiosities sake. Where and whence they go is of no real consequence. I proposes a similar study of rangers and bird researchers such as yourself. I can get a few self important committees to approve it... that doesn't make it right or ethical. I am sick of you self appointed experts thinking you are above animals. You ARE one therefore equal to one. Do you do this to your children to see where they go?  

-------------------------

I am truly sick of humans in general treating animals as either nonexistent or non important. We share this world with them and should treat them as partners, neighbors and fellow travellers. They are as important as any one of us and deserve as much respect probably more as they are not polluting and destroying habitats as we humans are. Sure some cockatoos may be a little destructive of our property but it is nothing compared with what we humans have done to the land.

A little respect, at least, I think.

Qyn
Qyn's picture

I agree it is a barbaric practice that I could never condone - when you get a facebook page going please paste a link and I will see that is gets shared through all the wildlife groups I know. It seems to me that just like the swan studies someone gets an idea for a grant and no matter the consequences to the animal (including capture myopathy) it get approved and becomes a done deal. I totally agree with your italicised comments and I will be writing also.

Alison
~~~~~~
"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Thanks richman for posting the letter. I will also send a reply. What surprised me, was how many people are supportive and give enthusiastic comments on their FB page. Makes you wonder...

M-L

Holly
Holly's picture

Hi guys

Researchers involved in projects such as this must seek appropriate approvals and follow strict ethical guidelines. The welfare of the birds is paramount. I am confident that the researchers appreciate your concerns and, in particular, your report of an injury. I have invited them to this thread to talk to you about the objectives of the project and I am sure they will be online soon to discuss it.

 

I just wanted to edit to add that threats of violence will not be tolerated on this forum either, against birds, other animals and people.

Qyn
Qyn's picture

Holly, I have to say I am disappointed you felt the need for that addition since the only "violence" has been against the cockatoos and only a "how would they like it" example concerning those conducting the study.

It is my personal experience that there are a growing numbers of organisations where those in charge of giving approval for projects concerning animals are administrators with qualifications unrelated to the fields concerned such as accounting, government, media and marketing (maybe to ensure emotional judgements are kept to a minimum) - major wildlife groups in both Victoria and New South Wales easily come to mind

Alison
~~~~~~
"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Like Alison, I find the warning Holly felt she needed to voice hard to understand.

My foremost concern is with the objective of the research, so far I haven’t read anything that would “ benefit the birds”. Any research done by anybody should aim to improve the lives of the birds being observed. Can I just point out the sentence: ….that WE are better able to live along side with….. Do we have to know where they are going

I’m no scientist, but I can tell you about the Cockatoos in my area. There are large flocks around Cockatoo (Vic East of Melbourne), and surrounding areas, simply because people feed them. That’s for breakfast. After that , you can see large flocks making their way up to the Dandenongs, to go to this horrible place called “Grant’s Picnic Grounds”, where tourists turn up in buses all day, to, guess what, feed them.

So, there is nothing to be discovered here, only abuse and suffering of our native wildlife, for our amusement.

None of those birds live a natural life anymore. And I don’t think the Cockatoos in urban Sidney do either?

So, unless the outcome of any study will have any benefit for the birds involved (forced to be involved), in my opinion, any kind of stress and even the smallest amount of suffering, is unjustifiable .

Here is some of what John Martin and Adrian Davis published on FB:

Mission

To understand the movements and breeding behaviour of the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in urban Sydney. Gaining a greater understanding of the ecology of these birds in a large city means that we are better able to live alongside with, not just cockatoos, but native urban wildlife in general. Planning for both humans and wildlife in cities is important for conserving the diversity of our native wildlife

Description

The wing-tagging of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos is a joint research project between the Royal Botanic Garden and the University of Sydney. Our aim is to assess the size of the cockatoo population, it's site-loyalty and movements within (and beyond) the Sydney region. We will also investigate the birds behaviour, particularly in association with breeding.

M-L

Woko
Woko's picture

I suppose it's handy to know where the sulphur-crested cockatoos are spending their time if the aim of the reseach is to provide information to enable the cockatoos & humans to live in harmony. However, I would have thought making comparisons of cockatoo numbers in various locations would be a way of doing this without having to put cattle tags on them. Sulphur-crested cockatoos are certainly conspicuous enough to make counting of them relatively easy.

It seems to me that for humans & wildlife to live in relative harmony with each other would require at least two things. Firstly, for adequate habitat to be preserved & restored for wildlife. Secondly, for there to be a quite radical change in human values so that humans cease consuming wildlife habitat & don't panic so much when wildlife encroaches on human domains. Sadly, humans generally are increasingly alienated from wildlife & their habitats & so give a much greater priority to their own wants & needs than to the needs of wildlife which is increasingly being seen as a nuisance or neither here nor there. Besides, humans can easily get any wildlife fix they need/want by visiting a zoo or watching aTV documentary.

However, if this research results in more habitat for wildlife then that's a good thing in my view. It seems a pity cattle tags are being use in the process.

john martin
john martin's picture

Hi Raven

Thanks for being interested in the ibis and cockatoo research.

You can report at: ibis.sightings@gmail.com

cockatoo.wingtag@gmail.com or via the iApp "Wingtags", which is free from the App store. There will be a web-based app for all platofrms developed shortly.

Kind regard

John

john martin
john martin's picture

Hello richman, Araminta, rawshorty, Woko, mtck, gyn55

We understand your concerns and richman we appreciate that you took these photos and contacted us with your concerns. Below we have provided a response to the points you have raised and we are more than willing to discuss all aspects of this project.

The tagging of cockatoos is part of a collaborative project between the Royal Botanic Garden, University of Sydney and Australian Museum to continue research into the changes in population structures of birds in urban areas of Sydney. There is very little/no information about site-loyalty, foraging distances, foraging preferences and size of the populations for most species in Sydney. To date we have tagged 79 sulphur-crested cockatoos and as part of a separate project over 300 white ibis. The first cockatoo was tagged on 16/9/11, 001 pictured in the above posts, this bird is regularly resighted within the Royal Botanic Garden and reports are regularly received within ~3km of the Garden (see picture and map). The map provides a small subset of the data we have collected for this bird.

The ibis tagging project commenced in 2008, with the similar aims of assessing breeding and foraging site-loyalty, natal philopatry of fledglings and dispersal locations of adults and juveniles from the Sydney region. To date we have received reports from across Sydney and as far north as Yamba (530km north of Sydney) of tagged ibis. These sorts of longer distances movements have been recorded for ibis but essentially no return data has been recorded; i.e. a chick was banded and resighted a long way away but never resighted again. The wing-tags offer a better method for collecting resighting data, including of birds that have dispersed and then, perhaps years later, that have returned. The initial use of wingtags with ibis was published in ‘Waterbirds’ in 2010, adding to the knowledgebase for people researching/working with birds. Importantly, this method of tagging has been used successfully since the 1970’s where it was initially used in the USA on vultures. This method had not been used with waterbirds, such as ibis, or parrots prior to the current study.   

In the past 18-months we have learnt that approximately a quarter of the cockatoos display site-loyalty to the Royal Botanic Garden, where they were tagged. We have also learnt that these ‘loyal’ birds readily forage within ~5km. However, we have also identified a number of transient individuals that have dispersed up to ~25km from the Garden. These data have been heavily skewed towards urban foraging areas as this is where people readily observe (and feed) the birds. This opens a range of additional questions regarding the future health of the birds, the use of ‘natural’ foraging resources and breeding and fledging success.

With respect to the pictures of cockatoo 001, with blood on its breast, I’ll reiterate the comments I provided directly to Richman via email. This was the first cockatoo we caught and we used a hand net which knocked a few feathers off the edge of the wing causing the observed bleeding. The bleeding was not a result of the tag. It was a small amount of blood but it shows up a lot on white feathers. We inspected and observed this bird prior to release and determined that it was able to be released. Our decision to release this bird has been justified as we have seen/received reports of this bird over 100 times since its release in September 2011. The lost feathers quickly healed and the blood that was present washed away. In addition, at the time that these photos were taken they were sent to NSW NPWS and we spoke with them regarding the welfare of the bird in question, they determined there was no welfare issue. We have stopped using the hand net and we haven’t had any similar issues subsequently. 

The first set of photos shows the stud going through the patagium of the cockatoo and the tag sitting off the wing. The tags are able to move, e.g. rotate, and this reduces the likelihood of the tags being entangled. It is unusual to see the tag sitting so far off the wing and as I stated in my email I anticipate that the bird will remove this tag without causing any damage to it-self.

Animal research always has the potential for some level of harm to animals which is why it is always overseen by a legislated animal ethics committee (AEC) comprising of scientist, vets, animal welfare advocates and non-scientist members of the community. Our project is being supervised by the Sydney University AEC who determine whether the research benefit outweighs animal welfare cost. 

The banding and tagging has not only been approved by the AEC but by the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme run by the Commonwealth government. As we have stated, we are tagging the birds to allow us and other observers to easily resight the birds and report these observations. This is has been highly successful to date with over 5000 resightings. The use of leg bands is not appropriate for this species as its legs are very short and rarely visible. Lastly, the cost of the tags is minimal in comparison to tracking devices such as radio, GPS and satellite transmitters range between ~$60 to ~$4000 each.  

The research we are conducting is providing unknown ecological information about these beautiful birds that will be used to inform both conservation, planning and management actions both locally and internationally. In addition, this project has produced a rare opportunity to engaged members of the community about science and conservation. 

Kind regards

John 

john.martin@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

02 9231 8058

richman

Thank you John. It seems that all you have learnt from 79 tagged birds is that Cockatoos fly around a bit to find food. I could have told you that and saved some cockies some hassles. How do we get the tags off now you have completed your research?

I might also observe that the reason they haven't travelled too far is that the wing tags are an annoyance.

Please don't tag any more as the 79 already tagged is by far enough of a sample of the local birds to do any research. 10 would have done the same job.

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Thanks John, I don’t want to comment and repeat what I have already said.

But I do want to repeat my main question: How will the information, that is so obvious and most observant people could have given without cattle tagging, benefit the Cockatoos?

You name conservation, planning and management,locally and internationally. (no idea what you could be referring to by stating internationally?) Are you seriously thinking any Town Planning and Development would take the welfare of a few Cockatoos into account? Call me cynical, but I have given up on that dream a long time ago.

So, to tell you what I think again: This is a self-serving exercise of no benefit to the “used” birds. If I’m wrong in believing this, I’m all too happy to hear your arguments to convince me otherwise.

Cheers, Araminta

What do the birds get out of it, by being forced to take part in this research? 

Unfortunately , nothing can be done for those 79 birds that have been tagged so far, but I strongly object to tag any more birds.

(although I have a feeling no amount of pleading is going to stop the tagging. If the birds could hear me, I would say: I am sorry for the pain and stress people inflict on you, for reasons beyond my understanding. Sorry )

M-L

pacman
pacman's picture

qyn55 wrote:

It is my personal experience that there are a growing numbers of organisations where those in charge of giving approval for projects concerning animals are administrators with qualifications unrelated to the fields concerned such as accounting, government, media and marketing (maybe to ensure emotional judgements are kept to a minimum) - major wildlife groups in both Victoria and New South Wales easily come to mind

  It is my personal experience that many organisations, where the manager has the technical qualifications of the area/industry, are not well managed and also that a similar number are well managed, I also disagree with your inference that emotional judgements are necessarily good judgements

Peter

pacman
pacman's picture

qyn55 wrote:

Holly, I have to say I am disappointed you felt the need for that addition since the only "violence" has been against the cockatoos and only a "how would they like it" example concerning those conducting the study.

I have to again disagree and say that Holly was approprate in adding that statement, posts #7 and #20 both contained comments that needed a moderator's response

Peter

Qyn
Qyn's picture

pacman wrote:
qyn55 wrote:

It is my personal experience that there are a growing numbers of organisations where those in charge of giving approval for projects concerning animals are administrators with qualifications unrelated to the fields concerned such as accounting, government, media and marketing (maybe to ensure emotional judgements are kept to a minimum) - major wildlife groups in both Victoria and New South Wales easily come to mind

  It is my personal experience that many organisations, where the manager has the technical qualifications of the area/industry, are not well managed and also that a similar number are well managed, I also disagree with your inference that emotional judgements are necessarily good judgements

If you considering animal welfare issues to be comparable to technical qualifications in industry or profitable business where money is the main consideration then you both miss my point as well as show exactly the kind of thinking that allows abuse of animals for reasons that seem to be too easily justified. You also have drawn an incorrect inference from my small guess at the reasoning for my observation of the change in the makeup of those groups governing decisions in regard to animals. In fact, groups of volunteers that formed to help animals are also being taken over and turned into businesses (supposedly non-profit) run by those with the skills I mentioned and the animals themselves seen as almost an inconvenience and unless you are personally invoved you will never be made aware of this.

If you are interested in my opinion rather than what you think I believe then I do think there is a place for emotion however too much emotion is as negative as totally clinical judgements but having an awareness that decisions do have consequences outside monetary interest or human knowledge of no benefit to the animal should always be a factor in animal concerns.

pacman wrote:
qyn55 wrote:

Holly, I have to say I am disappointed you felt the need for that addition since the only "violence" has been against the cockatoos and only a "how would they like it" example concerning those conducting the study.

I have to again disagree and say that Holly was approprate in adding that statement, posts #7 and #20 both contained comments that needed a moderator's response

You can disagree all you like, you are as entitled to your opinions as I am to mine. However, in both posts you mention, the author was discussing putting humans in the position of the animal to make a point of both being living creatures subject to decisons made by another and how unpleasant that would be for the human in the example - it was hardly a direct threat of violence to those humans and any thought that it was I find inexplicable.

Alison
~~~~~~
"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

pacman
pacman's picture

qyn55 wrote:
 

Thanks Alison, I will not further respond on this issue but have to ask you why you choose to type this new post in bold and italics.

Peter

Qyn
Qyn's picture

Peter, only because when I looked at it while typing, your comments and mine seemed to all merge into one. If I had realised it would be as indented as it does now I would not have used bold and italics - if I could see a way to alter the colour of the text I would have done that instead - I was going to bold and italicise your comments but did my replies instead.

Alison
~~~~~~
"the earth is not only for humans, but for all animals and living things."

john martin
john martin's picture

Hi Araminta

Studies the band/wingtag animals have many aims and many outcomes. The first aim of this study was to assess if the recognised method of wing-tagging could be used to study Sulphur-crested Cockatoos; the answer is yes. This then permitted the secondary questions to be assessed including assessing the size of the population, site-loyalty and foraging distances.

The demonstration that wing-tagging is an appropriate method for this species means that other researchers could use this method to study other Parrots, where appropriate. To date we have had several researchers contact us as they are considering using this method to study parrots, including rare/threatened species. Importantly, the use of wingtags allow these researchers to assess the size of the populations, the birds foragign movements and behaviour. So our study does not only answer these questions for Sulphur-crested Cockatoos but also informs other studies with not just the method but the outcomes, as these can also be applicable.

With respect to planning and development there are numerous international journals that publish studies relevant to these fields. Quite simply, if the scientific information isn't available then the planners and developers can not easily factor it in. Whilst I don't expect immediate changes the information we are learning and the work of our contemporaries can be applied to future planning and inparticular planning of new cities, predominantly in areas of global growth.

Lastly, a next step in our research is to assess the prevalence of Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) in the population, particularly in chicks. Importantly, we can collect samples from birds of varying ages and life stages and assess how this disease may be working with other diseases that are not so obviously displayed. If wing-tagged (known) birds are observed with this or another disease we can study how these diseases are working. The further assessment of PBFD has been identified as important for the conservation of listed parrots within Australia as this disease could have a significant impact on their survival. Our study presents a rare opportunity to study how this disease works: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedSpeciesApp/profile.aspx?id=20003         

Regards

John

john martin
john martin's picture

Hi richman

The research has not been completed so there are no plans to 'get the tags off'. As with all banding studies additional information may be learnt and additional questions may be assessed through the study animals permanently carrying the bands/tags. An example that comes to mind is of a Laysan Albatross that was initially banded over 60-years ago http://www.thew2o.net/ocean-space/wisdom-midway-albatross-surviving-japanese-tsunami-and-other-disasters-over-60-years. obviousle . . o  While this example is quite different it demonstrates the potential benefits of permanent marking. In regard to the cockatoos, there is the potential that we could be collecting data on these birds behaviour in 5-10 years, and possibly longer.

The fact that some birds haven't travelled very far would appear to have nothing to do with the tags, as other birds fitted with the same tags have travelled longer disstances. What these observations indicate is that there is an abundance of food within the urban environment and the cockatoos don't have to make a lot of effort whilst foraging. This raises several questions, for example: how does the foraging behaviour of males compare to females, juveniles compared to mature birds, seasonal variations and of course in relation to the as yet unidentified foraging resources such as the use of near-by national parks. All of these questions can not be answered with individually marking the birds. As I previously commented, leg bands are not an option in this instance as they can't be readily resighted, while wingtags have been assessed to be an appropriate and overwhelmingly successful method for resighting.

Please note that we understand your concerns but we have the necessary approvals and experience to conduct this research and we plan to continue this project.

Regards

John

Araminta
Araminta's picture

Thankyou very much for your reply John.

I have a few more questions in regards to what you said: Lastly, a next step in our research is to assess the prevalence of Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) in the population, particularly in chicks. Importantly, we can collect samples from birds of varying ages and life stages and assess how this disease may be working with other diseases that are not so obviously displayed. If wing-tagged (known) birds are observed with this or another disease we can study how these diseases are working. The further assessment of PBFD has been identified as important for the conservation of listed parrots within Australia as this disease could have a significant impact on their survival. Our study presents a rare opportunity to study how this disease

I’m very concerned about Cockatoos infected with Psittacine, I have seen a few birds suffering badly catching the virus up here in the Dandenongs at this horrible place “Grant’s Picnic Grounds “, where they have a permit granted by the DSE, that will only run out in 2019. I can NOT see though, how you will be able to collect samples from tagged birds. We also know, how these diseases are spread, mostly at feeding stations where bird to bird contact is possible. Some effort should be put into the information of the general population about the detrimental effect feeding wild birds can have on them.

Also councils should have the right to cancel permits like the one given to places that expose birds to the disease, like the one in Sherbrook (Vic), where we sacrifice the health of Cockatoos on the altar of the mighty tourist dollar. Yet again I have to say, to find all this out, there is no study necessary, I and many others already know that, you only have to come up and look at the birds that turn up to be fed all day long. I have seen the sick birds, but can’t do anything. Coming back to your research. Most of what you are researching is already well known.

But , what will you be doing to control Psittacine? We know how it’s spread, and I can’t see your research giving us any insight into how to prevent it? Any ideas, other than preventing the birds getting into close contact? I’d love to hear it. Sorry, I still can’t see any benefit to the birds, and I’m opposed to it for that reason.

cheers, M-L

M-L

richman

Come on John... I am well aware your research is not completed. Are you a PR man?

You are not doing anything for psittacine beak and feather disease. You are observing the movements of tagged birds around the Sydney area by using the general public. As far as studying the feeding patterns of males vs females and juveniles. Are you suggesting that you are also taking DNA samples when these birds are caught? 

As most of us know the females have lighter coloured eyes (brown as opposed to nearly black.) But only once they reach maturity (6-8 years). So all the tagged birds with dark eyes are juvenile or male. Rather difficult to judge the difference unless they are very young and you don't catch them unless you climb the trees. Therefore, as far as I understand, the only way to test the sex of the young birds vs males is DNA testing.  Does your funding stretch that far? .... If so I think I see a few budget cuts I may suggest to Mr O'Farrell, He is always looking to save a quid or two.

I think you are trying too hard to justify an unjustifiable position by attempting to make out you have the birds best interest at heart. This is simply not true. 

Your research is frivolous and it definitely has an impact on the birds flight. No matter how much you deny it, there is no possible way on earth that pinning tags through the skin on a birds primary limbs cannot cause negative impact.

If you want to go into the principals of aerodynamics we can start a whole new debate about the impact of the cattle tags on flight. Even if they are quite light you could not say they are 'as light as a feather'. Certainly not shaped like one either.

The tagging is wrong, disrespectful and harmful and should stop. There is nothing that can justify it.  

I would also like to thank you all (birds in backyarder's) for submitting your questions and replys to this difficult matter. Hopefully we will be able to get the resolution these proud and charming birds (victims) deserve.  (and I am quite happy to read bold italicised type too. No matter what colour it is) 

john martin
john martin's picture

Hi Araminta

As the birds are individually identifiable the opportunity exists to collect repeat samples through time to assess the health of the birds and the prevalence of diseases. This will allow an assessment of how different diseases work in combination. This work will increase our understanding of PBFD and its relationship with other diseases.

We do not have plans to ‘control’ PBFD, but to improve our understanding of this disease.

I understand your opposition to the research, to which you are entitled. I’ll leave this conversation at this point.

Regards

John

john martin
john martin's picture

Hi richman

Yes, we are DNA testing to assess the sex of the birds. However, a colleague is doing this as it fits in with their research so the cost is minimal.

With respect to your opposition to this research, to which you are entitled, we will have to agree to disagree.

Regards

John

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