We attach uniquely numbered bands for identification of individual cranes.
By observing banded individuals, we learn vital information about ecology
of red-crowed cranes.
Attaching a tag with a unique number is a good way to identify individual
wild animals without disturbing their activities. With birds (including
cranes), the numbered tag comes in the form of a metal or plastic band
attached to a leg. Identification of individuals is a valuable method for
collecting information that cannot be obtained otherwise. Examples of such
information are the life span, survivorship, and movement of individuals.
Capturing adult cranes involves some risks. Thus, we have focused on capturing chicks and juveniles before they learn to fly (up to about two months after hatching).
Banding & measurement
During banding and measurement, we use a head-cover so as to reduce the
stress level of captured birds.
Once released, the banded bird rejoins its parents.
Up until 2004, we attached a small metal band on the right leg and a large
plastic band on the left leg. However, the plastic band tended to get damaged
and fall off.
Since 2005, we have been attaching one large metal band on the right leg.
The band is made of aluminum alloy.
The banding project started in 1988. The bands have been supplied by Yamashina
Institute for Ornithology. Many volunteers have supported the banding project.
With our continuing effort, currently more than 10% of individuals in the
population can be identified using the bands.
As the number of records of banded individuals increase, we are able to
update our understanding about the ecology of the cranes.