We spent a day at Diabas learning how to catch and process Thick-billed Murres from a couple of very experienced field workers. The opportunity to learn from them was critical for the success of this venture as they will be moving on to other projects on the 20th. Following is a series of photos with some commentary where useful:
We use a hook and/or a noose pole to catch the birds. It looks much more gruesome than it actually is and the bird is only in this predicament for a couple of seconds.
It is imperative, when not taking head measurements, to keep the bird’s head tucked up under your sweater or jacket as it is very strong and has a nasty bite. Keeping it ‘in the dark’ seems to keep it much more relaxed.
We recovered two birds with these data loggers. They will provide a history of the birds’ movments for the past year.
Seabird colonies can be scented from quite a long distance away. It’s quite important not to be standing under the bird when it’s released as, almost invariably, it defecates upon release.
Each day we will spend a couple of hours searching the cliffs for coloured leg bands and try to identify the letter/numbers. This will provide vital information on survivorship.
The walk to and from the camp will never be dull: