It is always so much fun to go bird banding with Tom. Sunday the 15th of June was a perfect day for it. Well, it was better than Saturday the 14th, anyway! It rained like crazy and Tom postponed banding until Sunday. Sunday was misty/foggy at first… but the mist burned off to produce a perfect June day.
Emily and I tried to get our acts together to be on time for the first net check. (When you’re camping at the most beautiful place on the planet, leaving it can be difficult.) Alas, we arrived just after the group had left for their 2nd net check at 6:30am. I’d love to give you a blow-by-blow of what we caught and processed at each net check. But when things get to moving so quickly, it’s hard to remember what happened when… If the nets are loaded, the processing can sometimes take us past the next net check time and we get behind…
You get a lot of exercise during banding at this station. Tom has 10 nets set up and we walk the loop every 30 minutes.
Kyle is a future veterinarian studying at Canisius College. Here, visitors watch as he extracts a bird from the net. Depending on how tangled the bird got, that can be very tricky business. The most difficult one of the day was a Hairy Woodpecker that managed to get “tongued”. Bird tongues are barbed in the back. Sometimes the net gets wound around the tongue. Tom had quite a time getting that bird out! I was fortunate to practice on a very easy one: Just as we arrived at one of the nets, a Goldfinch flew in. It didn’t have time to get very tangled at all!
Tom is a good teacher. He doesn’t just tell you all the answers. He gives you a chance to figure it out on your own, and he provides you with the tools.
It’s a Veery! Karen holds it for a photo op.
Tom uses his point-and-shoot camera to take some amazing close-up shots of the birds.
Check out Tom’s photo of the Veery here.
Getting back to the Woodpecker story, at one net check there were two Hairy Woodpeckers in the same net. Tom told us the tradition with woodpeckers: Whenever you catch one, you simply HAVE TO smell the head.
In the meantime, Tom was off photographing the other Hairy Woodpecker… the one that had been through a little more trauma from getting his tongue stuck… Tom’s bird wasn’t nearly so calm:
He managed to get this shot, though. So I guess it was worth it!
P.S. There were plenty of dragons flying, too. Next CLDC banding day, I’m bringing a net and I’ll do a Dragonfly survey, too, while I’m there!