Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alaska - collecting data

During our time in Alaska, the focus was on catching male Godwits, such as this gorgeous male with the most stunning breeding plumage. Unfortunately, despite a number of treks across the tundra to this male's breeding area, we never managed to catch him. He was just too clever.

However, of the ones we did catch we recorded typical data such as mass, bill length, wing length, and plumage details. We also collected feather samples to analyse for melanin content and to score the degree of wear.

Before releasing the birds we would add Aplha numeric flags and metal bands so they can be identified in the future, hopefully this summer back in New Zealand! So keep an eye out for J6, J8, J9, K0, K1, K2, K3 and K4, coming to an estuary near you soon.


teachernz said...

It all seems like quite an adventure you've been on!
Those tags look pretty big... are they visible without catching or getting too close to the birds?
What are the chances of any of these Godwits being observed in New Zealand and when/where should we start looking for them?

Craig Steed said...

Yes the tags are easily visible using binoculars or a scope, maybe with a keen eye if you get close enough. We are hoping the birds will come down to NZ, we don't know exactly where they will come to though - Miranda would be a good location for you perhaps. They will be arriving around September onwards. It'd be so awesome to have some resightings of these!