Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 54: Band it

The little blue foot there is the foot of a mostly feathered Cassin's Auklet chick and it's about to get some jewelry. Once the chicks are nearly fully grown, they get an individually numbered leg band. This band will last their entire lifetime and it allows us to track this individual across years. If it returns to breed as an adult, the band number tells us how old the bird is.  These known-age birds are especially valuable since they allow us to answer questions about how survival and reproduction change with age and how many young and old birds there are in the current population.

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