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In terms of whether or not this is an issue of conservation or a move to save a birds life, it is clearly an act to save a bird's life. Whether or not that was the "correct" thing to do is a personal opinion, really. But in terms of conservation for this species and for tropical hummingbirds, this capture does nothing. As Nathan wrote, most migrants die. More than that, migrants that drift a thousand miles outside of their usual range, die.

So getting back to what I originally said, they did not offer a benefit to the conservation of hummingbirds. They saved this birds life, and will put it on display at a zoo. Thousands of people will walk by the display and say "wow, that is a pretty bird" just like all of the birds at the exhibit. They will leave, and forget about the green breasted mango who drifted too far. Conservation goes far beyond the displays of zoos and even further beyond the help rehabilitation centers give. They should have let the bird be.


Even if not covered by the treaty, I think this is likely a case where the "letter of the law" and the "spirit of the law" could be at odds. At any rate, I'd sympathize much more with the action taken IF the bird was to be released to the wild upon springtime arrival -- even though the Zoo may offer excellent facilities, and the bird's lifetime may actually be extended in captivity over what it would be in the wild, there remains something troubling about taking a creature just because basically it was 'easy-pickins.' I'm sure all involved though, are using the best judgment as they see fit, and both sides have some good arguments.

Matt Mendenhall

The bird is not covered by the treaty. We checked.


The Mango is (or will be, depending on when the regulations take effect) covered by the MBTA - the new list of covered birds, published for review in 2006, includes the Green-breasted Mango.


I would have thought that a publication like this would have checked that fact, and followed up on it with USFWS.


Humnet is definitely the place to go to find out about this, but I tend to agree with the sentiment there that this was a bad idea.

Sure this one likely would not have made it, but we don't know that for sure. To answer cyberthrush's questions it seems that it may have been illegal to capture the bird as it was not injured in any way. No word on what they're going to do with it once it gets to the zoo.

I know we all like birds and hope for their welfare, but birds die all the time. Actually, most vagrants end up dieing, that's just the way it is. Capturing this one and preventing nature from taking its course does nothing for the population of Green-breasted Mangos as a whole. And it's welfare of populations of birds that the real emphasis should be on. I sort of hope this rehabber has some legal ramifications coming their way, this isn't the sort of thing that should be encouraged.


I am glad they captured the Mango. We have been calling him the "Little Green Ambassador to Birds" because of all the attention he has brought to birds, birding, and most importantly, conservation.

At the Brookfield Zoo he will garner lots more attention and surely enlighten new birder-conservationists. Pretty much a no-brainer when faced with the alternative...


This seems like quite an unusual step to take -- at least I've not heard of it occurring with other "vagrant" hummers that weren't outright injured or unhealthy. Can someone say if there are other precedents for capturing such a hummer 'for its own good' as it were, with no injury was present? Also, would the potential Zoo stay be permanent or temporary until the return of warm weather (and release)? -- And apologies in advance, if these questions have already been answered over at Humnet or elsewhere...

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