Bands, Tags, and transmitters… oh my..

Sometimes, when I’m out photographing, I find animals that have jewelry, bling-bling, dazzling little scientific devices designed to keep track of their every move. Often referred to as bands, tags, and transmitters, all they are are tools for scientists to determine movement patterns.

For instance, the bird in this picture, Carlos, is probably the most photographed Caracara in the entire world. He resides at the Viera Wetlands and has been tracked for at least four years. We KNOW he doesn’t go anywhere. Quite possible every day his photo is taken and we can say with proof that it’s him.

For other species, these markers travel with them during migrations allowing observers along the way to make notes about where they were seen and when. These reports are entered into a database that is used to determine patterns in travel.

There are several types of markers;

  • Bands: the most common, often found on legs.  There are several varieties of band; federal, state, and ID.
  • auxillary markers: found on wings, necks, and other odd places
  • transmitters: found on collars on mammals, backpacks on birds, and fin tags on aquatic species
  • Sometimes markers are a color or notch placed onhard surfaces of reptiles.

So what do you do when you find a marked animal?  You report it.  Sometimes it’s easier said then done, but here are a few resources for you..

There are many more out there too..

Enjoy Nature.. it’s free.

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