Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Banding with the Big Cheeses


We had a surprise when we were banding at Crane Flat the other day; Sarah, the park bird biologist, told us that Dave DeSante, founder of IBP, and Rodney, who currently heads the institute, would be visiting. Both are amazing banders, and have an amazing enthusiasm for birds. They were in the park working on survey transects that Dave has been doing for thirty-two years (without missing a year). We were a little nervous about them coming, but everything was totally fine. They are both really nice, and they said they were really impressed with our speed in processing birds and excitement about banding in Yosemite. On their first net run there, Rodney came with me, and said he thought I was doing very well.

There was a little conflict between our group here and Dave DeSante. Jeff has always told us that we should close nets if they look windy or hot, but Dave thinks it can leave a great impact on the data. It was a classic conflict between field biologists and data managers. Dave seemed a little callous at first, but when we talked about it, he is just concerned that we are taking good data. There is no reason for being here having a minor impact on birds if our data cannot be used. Rodney suggested that we make shorter net runs (~10 minutes). We are still closing nets when in doubt, but it is nice to have other solutions.

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