Virginia.gov

VDGIF/Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagle Cam: Banding

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, in partnership with the Norfolk Botanical Garden and WVEC, is providing a rare glimpse into the life of two bald eagles and their offspring!

Friday, April 17, 2009

“Banding”

The eaglets at the Norfolk Botanical Garden will be banded by biologists from the College of William & Mary's Center for Conservation Biology at approximatley 1:00pm on Monday April 20th. Staff from the Norfolk Botanical Garden will host a special event chat on the WVEC chat http://www.wvec.com/chat/ and detail the action on the ground.

The chicks will be removed from the nest by climbers from Nuckols Tree Care and Old Dominion University who regularly volunteer to assist with managment of the eagles at this nest. Biologists on the ground will measure and weigh the birds. At this age the measurement should reveal the gender of the birds. The timing for the banding is important. The young must be large enough that the bands will remain securely on their leg and young enough to be fairly docile. Once removed from the nest the young will be measured, weighed and banded. A small blood sample will be taken along with a single feather to collect a genetic sample. The young will be returned to the nest none the worse for wear. During the procedure the adults will circle overhead, keeping a close watch on the proceedings. Shortly after the young are back in the nest the adults will resume their parental duties.

Banding allows scientists to collect information about wild birds such as: dispersal and migration, behavior and social structure, life-span and survival rate, reproductive success and population growth. Each band carries a unique numeric code that is reported to the Bird Banding Laboratory at the United States Geologic Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. The public can report sightings of banded birds at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/BBL/homepage/call800.cfm. Bald eagles are banded with a riveted metal band to prevent the birds from removing the band. The band will last throughout the bird’s lifetime.