Beached Birds, COASST

Tag: wood and hemp are it!

We bet you’re all wondering when the new tagging system will roll out COASST-wide. Many COASSTers have been testing the wooden tag/hemp twine combination for the past few months, and have provided invaluable feedback, thank you! With COASSTer tested and approved materials, we’re ready for the next phase: building up our supply and distributing the new kits across the program. We are excited to phase-out zip-ties and phase-in wooden tags with hemp twine.

Wooden Tag Tied
Tags are first securely tied to the hemp twine.

What to expect:

Beginning this spring, attendees of beached bird trainings will receive the new tags in their kits instead of zip ties.

During our next round of check-ins, we will ask for a mailing address confirmation for each active beached bird team. Confirmed people and addresses will be added to a list of recipients of new tag kits, which will be mailed out in batches as supply becomes available.

COASSTers near Seattle will have the option to visit our headquarters at the University of Washington to say hi and pick up their tags.

We’re updating the protocol – swapping out zip tie instructions for the new wooden tags, and the bird characteristics datasheet (removing the part about tag colors). This new protocol section and datasheets will accompany the new tagging kits.

Here’s a sneak peek at how they are attached to beached birds:

Whole RHAU tagged
Same as zip ties, the priority tagging location is around the wing close to the body.
Wing only
A single wing is tagged tightly between the wrist and the elbow.
Foot only
A single foot is tagged tightly around the tarsus.
Head only
Tagging a bill requires a very tight tie, ideally behind a protuberance so it doesn’t slip off.

5 thoughts on “Tag: wood and hemp are it!

    1. Looks very environmentally friendly. Some concern about implementing this on winter days with very cold fingers and windy conditions but wont know until we try🙃

      1. Hi Lee! Yes this was one of our concerns as well. We hope you’ll find it workable, even in the cold and wind. We tested under these conditions and found that the waxed hemp was pretty easy to grip and didn’t want to blow away compared to wool yarn and wire. We’ve also found that pre-threading hemp through tags before going to the beach can be a real time saver, so that the only on-the-beach task is to tie it to the bird. We’ll be eager for your feedback!

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