Why do some birds have bands or flags?
Generally birds are banded as part of research or conservation efforts, it can be for many different reasons such as:
to find out where they spend their time during different seasons.
to find out it's mating habits (e.g. for life or not).
to find out how long that species might live.
if female, to find out how many eggs it will lay in its life.
to find how far it flies, and where it goes. There have been very interesting result on this, with some unexpected long distance fliers!
to find out where it feeds.
And, so much more
If you see a banded bird at Snells Beach or anywhere else on your travels, you can learn how to read the bands using this short publication. As well as teaching you how to report the banded bird sightings, you'll learn what to do should you find a deceased banded bird or bands that once were on a bird.
Why report what you have seen?
You can find out more about the individual bird you have seen. Researches can learn more about the movements, behaviour, longevity, migration patterns, and population sizes, etc.
What banded birds could I see at Snells Beach?
There is frequently a tūturiwhatu (New Zealand dotterel) with bands at Snells Beach. Kuaka (godwits) and tara iti (fairy terns) with bands have occasionally been spotted along the shoreline. Tara iti are recognised by New Zealand's Department of Conservation as "probably our most endangered indigenous breeding bird."
The photos by Alan France at Snells Beach.