Southern royal albatrosses ( Diomedea epomophora ) injured by bands
|Title||Southern royal albatrosses ( Diomedea epomophora ) injured by bands|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2003|
|Type of Article||paper|
|Keywords||bands, Diomedea epomophora, injury, southern royal albatross|
More than 35,000 southern royal albatrosses (Diomedea epomophora) were banded on Campbell Island from 1941 to 1998. Recoveries of 2187 birds while breeding on Campbell Island during 1994-98 included 54 (2.5%) that were injured by their bands; over all years, 195 (3.4%) injured birds and 225 others with bands fitted incorrectly were reported. Injury rates were higher for birds banded as chicks (7%) than adults (0.5%). Untrained volunteer banders from the island's meteorological station banded up to 5200 birds annually, and in some years bands were not closed properly. The partially open bands eventually embedded in the leg or ankle, crippling the birds. Six annual banding cohorts were responsible for 83% of injuries and almost half (n = 90) came from the 1979 cohort. Banding quality improved after 1982 and only two injured birds have been found from more recent cohorts. The band's large circumference relative to its thickness may have contributed to it springing open with time, so a stronger band is recommended. For animal welfare reasons, a band repair operation should be conducted. If nothing is done, the situation will improve over the next 20-30 years as birds die, but regular band maintenance would prevent future problems.