Bird Banding Laboratory


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Authorization to Use Mist Nets

Mist nets require a high degree of skill and manual dexterity if they are to be used without causing undue injury or mortality to birds. A greater knowledge of identification and aging and sexing techniques is also necessary than if the bander uses only traps.

A bander who wants authorization to use mist nets should provide justification. When possible, the bander will be requested to work with another bander who is experienced in the use of nets and to obtain a recommendation from that bander. In the U.S., each mist net (and trap) should bear a tag with the bander's name and permit number. As an alternative, the immediate vicinity of such devices may be posted with signs provided by the Bird Banding Laboratory.

The Bird Banding Laboratory will usually restrict the number of mist nets that a bander is allowed to use. Banders feel they have the skill to manage more mist nets can request that the number of nets on their permit be increased. The number of nets listed on a Subpermit may not exceed the number of nets listed on a Master Permit.

Authorization to use Chemicals to Capture Migratory Birds

Some chemical agents may be used to tranquilize birds and enable their capture for marking. This technique requires a high degree of skill. Authorization will be granted only in exceptional cases.

Before requesting such authorization from the U.S. Bird Banding Laboratory, write for an Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) letter of permission from the FDA to use drugs to capture birds. Write to or call Food and Drug Administration, Bureau of Veterinary Medicine, 5600 Fishers Lane, Parklawn Building, Room 6B-12, mail drop HFV-130, Rockville, Md. 20857. Phone (301) 594-0614. The Bird Banding Offices will review requests with the appropriate regional offices. At least 60 days should be allowed for such applications to be processed.

Authorization to use Rocket Nets to Capture Migratory Birds

A bander who wants authorization to use rocket, cannon nets or net guns should provide justification and list their experience.

The use of rocket (cannon) nets as a capture device is very tightly controlled. The purchasing of the charges used to propel the net is controlled and users must be on an approved purchasers list in order to purchase the charges. These capture devices may catch large numbers of birds at one time, and banders using these nets should be trained in the use of the nets and set up to handle and process large numbers of birds safely.

Researchers who have a need to use rocket (cannon) nets in the USA may request permission to use these capture devices from the US Fish and Wildlife Service but should allow an extensive lead time. Allow a minumum of six months to a year between the time the request is made and the time you actually need the rocket net charges in your possession. The shipping and distribution of the charges used to propel the nets is also restricted, and delivery of the charges from the manufacturer to the researcher may take a lengthy period of time.

Only researches within federal and state agencies or with a direct university link are normally allowed to purchase and use rocket net charges. Contractors (even contractors for agencies), pest control companies, and private individuals are not normally approved to be allowed to purchase the rocket net charges.

The manufacturer of rocket net charges can only sell these charges to those on the approved list of purchasers. To be added to this list, send a written request to the appropriate U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director. The request should include a description of the need to use rocket nets and the research involved, as well as a statement that only trained personnel will be allowed to used the rocket nets and that any unused charges will be dealt with in an appropriate, approved manner. If the Regional Director approves the request you will be given an ID number and allowed to purchase the charges.

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