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Not so free as a bird: Provocative pictures show species tangled up in ornithologists' mist nets


Mixed emotions: This picture of a mourning warbler is one of dozens taken of birds caught in ornithologists' mist nets by U.S. photographer Todd Forsgren

Snarled up in nets, their freedom snatched away, these stunning birds cut a sorry sight.
But their plight becomes rather less distressing when you learn these traps have actually been set by ornithologists doing their best to help them.
They were pictured by Washington D.C.-based photographer Todd Forsgren, who has travelled the world to shoot countless species in this little-seen environment.

Rufous-winged Woodpecker: The Washington D.C.-based photographer has travelled the world to find his images

He aims to provoke a mixed response by showing the birds in an unsettling situation, but also highlight incredible detail you wouldn't see in their natural habitat.
'I feel there is a unique mystery to the birds in this fragile and embarrassing moment, to take a creature that is the epitome of freedom and bind it,' Mr Forsgren told 20×200.
'In some way, the birds are still "unknown" during this moment, as it is before they are taken out of the nets, measured and weighed. I wanted to take photographs about the process of getting to know a bird deeply.

Montezuma Oropendola: Mr Forsgren aims to provoke a mixed response by showing the birds in an unsettling situation, but also highlighting incredible detail you wouldn't see in their natural habitat

Gray Catbird: Mr Forsgren says there is a 'unique mystery' to the birds in this 'fragile and embarrassing moment'

Streak-headed Woodcreeper: Mr Forsgren likes to examine themes of ecology, environmentalism and perceptions of landscape while striving to strike a balance between art history and natural history

'Initially, most people think the images are tragic if they’re not familiar with the mist-netting and bird-banding. But I hope that, as they consider this moment more carefully, they'll come to understand and appreciate the valuable information that biologists can collect using these techniques.'
Mist nets, which are typically made of nylon mesh suspended between two poles, are use by bird and bat experts to identify, band and examine species for research.
When used properly, they present a low risk of injury and once they have been studied, they are released back into the wild.

source: dailymail