The photographs of the band on the Lake Champlain pochard raise some interesting issues. The bad news is that this could signify that the bird is an escapee - aviculturists often band their captive birds, complicating the situation for us. The other possibility is that this is a wild bird that was previously banded in its winter stronghold in NW Europe. At first I was skeptical of this because the band in the photos doesn't resemble most of the band types used in Europe (which are made from a dull-colored alloy, very unlike the shiny band on our bird). However, I went to the trouble of emailing the photos to a couple of wildfowl banders back in my native Scotland and they tell me that the Swedes and the Icelanders actually use stainless steel for their bands. So, is this a bird that jumped the fence or is it a wild bird? The most direct way to answer that is for someone to get better images (I.e., readable) of that band.
Getting back to the question that someone raised about the process of discriminating between possible escapees and wild birds. I think it is true to say that there has been a sea change in how most of us (including many bird records committees) think about this. First, some birds are obvious escapes (budgerigars, cockatiels, etc). Others, including many waterfowl and birds of prey, are not so clear cut. A few years back the approach among many folks was to consider them escapees unless there was evidence to the contrary. Now, however, the prevailing approach is that they might well be wild unless there is evidence of captivity ( might include abnormal degrees of wear on retrices and remiges, bands, abnormal behavior). This is why the current spate of barnacle and pink-footed geese in the northeast no longer raise temperatures they way that they once did. You might argue that this philosophical change is not warranted, but it is what it is.
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