On the Netting and Tagging of Babies

categories: Cocktail Hour


I net and tag Hadley. She is 4 weeks here, the optimum age for radio collaring.

I understand why some people are against netting and tagging babies.  But the crucial issue here, I hope you understand, is control.  We simply can’t have babies running wild over the marsh and through the woods, going hither and yon, completely unmanaged.  In the end the goal is to protect babies and to protect them, ultimately, we need them to be tagged and tracked.  I would think this would be obvious, even to the lay person.

If I seem insensitive, please understand, that I know of what I speak.  We first trapped and tagged my daughter Hadley in the salt marsh behind our house in East Dennis.   My wife argued that she should develop on her own, freely, and that we should release her without the radio collar. I tried not to laugh at her lack of scientific discipline.   Softened by her maternal instinct, she did not understand my hard reasoning.  How could we protect the newborn without a radio collar?  How could we follow where it went? How could we study it?   And, perhaps most importantly, how could we use what we learned to advocate for wild babies in the future?

I tried to explain that the collaring process was relatively painless, but, again soft-hearted, my wife could only hear the child’s screams.  “She won’t even notice it once she is back in the wild,” I said.  “It looks heavy,” she said.  “Only 23 ounces,” I said.

In the end she saw the sense of it.  This are modern times after all.  We can’t have wild, un-monitored babies roaming about.  Don’t you agree?












  1. monica wood writes:

    Whoo hoo! You bagged a nice fat one!

  2. Tommy writes:

    Maybe “chips” like the ones you put in your dogs and cats for easy identification at the lost and found will be more readily accepted in the future. Of course, you’ll still have to net them first, which I’ve found is more easily accomplished while they’re suckling. Once the mother has been anesthetized by a tranquilizer dart, of course!

  3. Dobx writes:

    Heartening the greater number of babies on the beaches these days–our efforts at limiting birth control and gay “families” are really getting someplace! That’s an old A-200 Babymaster Net. Tell me you’re not using that anymore! The new ones are super. Amazon’s got ’em.

  4. George de Gramont writes:

    What’s going on here! Anyway a wonderful photo!I love it and it is now in my I Photo file!