And so it begins…

… another spring/summer banding season…

Scott Stoleson and his team, Linda Ordiway, Don Watts, and Emily Thomas came to Audubon today to begin five weeks of banding.  They will be at the Pavilion field Saturdays through May 23rd from 7am until 11am.  If you live nearby, you should definitely plan a Saturday morning visit to the Center to watch the demonstrations…  So much to learn… so cool to see the little birdies up close.

AMRO - First bird of Spring 2009 Banding at Audubon
Scott looks on as Emily holds the first bird of the season, an American Robin female, for her photo opportunity.  This might be the little lady building a nest in the rafters of the pavilion.  We’ll have to wait and see…

Black-capped ChickadeeBlack-capped Chickadees were plentiful…  I think we banded six!  They are so cute when the come to the feeder, or better yet eat out of your hands…  But in the nets, and attempting to band… that’s another story.  With that tiny little beak a chickadee can grab on hard and strong when it wants to.

(Emily makes grumpy faces when she has to band a Chickadee.)

Three different kinds of sparrows made it into the nets…  I was disappointed in my photos of the Lincoln’s Sparrow… the only one that was in focus, it had its eyes half-closed:

Lincoln Sparrow
Lincoln’s Sparrows winter south of us and breed north of us… This little guy is just passing through.  It had no visible fat, so we guess it may have arrived last night.  Having used up all reserves, it will eat up, store more fat, and then move further north before looking for good breeding habitat.

Another north-bound migrant is the White-throated Sparrow.  Emily and Don mentioned knowing of a couple of breeding pairs as far south as Forest and McKean counties in Pennsylvania.  But most head further north.

White-throated Sparrow
I have had one singing “Oh Canada, Canada, Canada” in my backyard every morning for a week.  I wish he would stay, such a pretty song…  But alas, I fear he will move on.

We caught two White-throated Sparrows.  Both had rather a lot of fat that will provide them with the energy they need to fly further north.  You can see the fat when Emily blows on the feathers, separating them:

White-throated Sparrow - Fat

This one was so chubby he wouldn’t fit in the small pill bottle we used to weigh his buddy…  So he had to move up to the medium size container.  After weighing, he sat for a bit before flying off:

White-throated Sparrow Weighing Tube

This one will stay and breed here.  Song Sparrow:

Song Sparrow

This tricky little birdie flew away before we could weigh it.  Then, when we re-captured it, we forgot that we didn’t have its weight!  House Wren:

House Wren

The early bird catches the worm and the early bander catches the birds… when things got slow later in the morning, we amused ourselves looking for herps.  Linda impressed us all with her ability to reach through rose bushes and pull this handsome fellow out of the pond:

Green Frog

4 thoughts on “And so it begins…

  1. How fun! Banding days allow for such amazing photos — it’s great to be able to see details such as the birds’ feet. We had no idea that chickadees could get so uppity in the net! And, of course, we adored the frog — look at those golden eyes!

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    I got something interesting in my email today…

    Did you know…

    … that today is National Bird Day? On the birthday of John
    James Audubon (1785), an American famous for his paintings of
    birds, we honor all birds and ornithologists. Born on April
    26, 1785, in Santo Domingo, Audubon completed his greatest
    work, The Birds of America, in 1838.

    Today’s Inspirational Quote:

    “A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is
    not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.”

    — John James Audubon

  3. Nice photos. Our White-Throated Sparrows are still here–expecting them to leave any day now.
    Emily–thanks for that–didn’t know it was National Bird Day.

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