Opening Day at SWAT

I’ve been away for a couple of days and while I was gone, I let WordPress publish scheduled posts automatically.  Now I’m back “live” with lots of stories to tell…

May 30, 2008 – Bird Banding

Canisius College Bird BandersDue to circumstances far too tedious to list, I arrived at Tom LeBlanc’s SWAT banding station later than I had intended on opening day (May 30) – maybe 8:30 a.m. or so…  Tom and his team had already banded and released many birds.  SWAT is a MAPS banding station.  MAPS stands for Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship.  SWAT is the four-letter code Tom selected for this station… and it soon became clear why.  The gnats were annoying to say the least!  We SWATted many of them throughout the morning.  I had to keep reminding myself:  They are not bugs.  They are bird food.

It was a joy to follow these experts around and soak up the knowledge.  I realize I have a LOT to learn!…

There were so many beautiful, colorful birds!  My favorite pair had contrasting colors:  a Yellow Warbler and an Indigo Bunting:

Contrasting Colors

Couldn’t resist a bunch of pictures of the Baltimore Oriole, either:

Baltimore Oriole

I racked up plenty of experience including recording data and holding and releasing the processed birds.  This fine Gray Catbird did me the honor of being the first bird to nip at me:

Catbird in my Hand

Tom generously and patiently talked me through banding a darling little female Magnolia Warbler:

My First Band at SWAT I didn't kiss her but I wanted to

Later, we caught her boyfriend.  Now they have matching bracelets.

Magnolia Warbler - the Boyfriend

There were plenty more birds and lots of fun and conversation…  I’m really enjoying learning about bird banding.  After we closed the nets, I was off to the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage…  Posts for the next few days are going to be about that!  And maybe I’ll even get some time to catch up on reading all YOUR blogs, too!

Read Tom’s story about Opening Day here:

12 thoughts on “Opening Day at SWAT

  1. Jen, I am soo glad that you had such a wonderful time banding last Friday! I guess making it there late is better than not at all! You still got to see some of the best birds!

  2. Jen isn’t it exciting to band birds! I love seeing them up close and retrieving them from the nets. I’ll have to see if Sarah will let me band one.
    Love that picture of you and the Magnolia.

  3. Many thanks to you, Tom, for encouraging this new interest of mine! It is so much fun.

    Toni – it was GREAT to meet you in person! Would love to have you teach me some of your birds on Presque Isle! We’ll have to make a date.

  4. Do they get panicked? They all seem so calm in the photos. I’ve been watching birds for longer than I care to admit, but I have never been involved with banding them. Your work is admirable. Thanks for showing us!

  5. Tabbie – Most of the birds seem to calm right down and put up with the indignities… If a bird seems stressed, the bander in charge will hurry the procedures along, skip the photos, and release the bird as quickly as possible. For Tom, anyway, safety of the bird is the TOP priority!

  6. The Yellow Warbler and the Indigo Bunting together sure makes a beautiful picture. It sounds like you had a wonderful time and it is always fun to see the birds up close. I’m finding it is the best way for me to learn the birds and remember them. It was fun meeting you at the Nature Pilgrimage and I look forward to your pictures and posts about it.

  7. Pingback: Allegany Nature Pilgrimage - Plant Lore « A Passion for Nature

  8. Cool bird pictures–I like the yellow & blue together too. Did that catbird leave a mark? It’s beak looks really sharp! Looks like you had a really fun day, Jennifer.

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