|Jackie Edmunds with Red-tailed Hawk (1)|
Bird banding is one tool that has been used to assess survivorship in rehabilitated patients. I have been lucky enough to volunteer with local bird banders in Wisconsin (a huge thank you goes out to Dr. Mara McDonald of Biocore Prairie), and I have personally started banding released songbirds from FLWC this fall in hopes to obtain a few band recoveries. Unfortunately, simple metal bands often achieve less than 1% on returns, there is much error in individual sightings upon retrieval, and dating the true time of death of an animal is difficult to determine. Other options yielding better results are available to banders, some of which I would like to share with everyone today.
I have a unique opportunity to perform a different kind of banding research at FLWC conjunctionally as a 2013 Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development Master’s degree student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison (under the direction of Dr. Mark Berres). My goal is to use GPS units, rather than just metal bands, to track our birds post-release. Red-tailed Hawks will be used as our model species in order to determine survival rates, alterations in migration and breeding behavior, assessing whether or not particular veterinary procedures affect survivorship, and comparing the of costs associated with wildlife rehabilitation to the percent of post-release mortality.
GPS unit on a Golden Eagle (2)
Furthermore, Red-tailed Hawks are highly visible and iconic birds. They are keystone predators in ecological systems, and ever more often they occupy nests in urban landscapes where locals can enjoy the sight of them. FLWC admits many Red-tailed Hawks based on the simple fact that, being so close to humans, anthropogenic injuries are high within this species. Compassionate and attentive finders bring birds to us to save their lives, and I would like to give back in such a way that benefits both the birds and the people who bring them to us.
|Red-tailed Hawk (3)|
For more information or to make a donation to help with this important research, please visit Dane County Humane Society's Four Lakes Wildlife Center's website.
Can you provide funding to support raptor rehabilitation and research? Make a Donation: select "Other" and enter "Raptor Monitoring"
(1) Brooke Lewis, Wildlife Rehabilitation Supervisor
(2) Peggy Riemer, Waupaca County
(3) Susan Savage, FLWC wildlife caretaker volunteer