Bird Banding

Catbird Gets a Band - May 17th, 2008On Saturday, the bird banding team processed 14 birds.  Most were receiving new bands, but there were several recaptures.  Most notable was a Gray Catbird that had been banded here on May 19th, 2007… it was listed as being “after second year” then… so this was an old bird!

In the last few weeks, I’ve had several people ask me why we band birds.  Determining life spans is only one of the many uses of bird banding data.  For more information on how banding data are used, visit the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center website by clicking here.

For me, the most exciting part about bird banding is the way people respond.  According to his mother, this young man was very reluctant to go along to the bird banding demonstration:

Robin Gets a Band

It only took seeing one bird come out of the net and get a bracelet before he was hooked.  His family stayed right through to the end and that boy was eager to go on every net check, delighted each time it was his turn to release a bird.

Robin's Release

Actually, it wasn’t his turn to release this one.  But after watching the American Robin nip at Emily’s hands during processing, none of the other kids were too eager to let it go!  Emily gently dumped the Robin onto sleeve-covered hands.

And it’s not just the kids who delight in seeing the birds up close:

Ovenbird's Photo Opp

Over 60 people visited the banding station on this lovely Saturday morning, including Sarah’s Little Explorers class:

Little Explorers Visit Bird Banding Station

Bird Banding demonstrations repeat at Audubon on May 16th and 23rd, 7am-11am.  Come on down!

2 thoughts on “Bird Banding

  1. Sharing the birds with young kids was always one of my favourite parts of banding back in Toronto. We had some regulars, who we got to know by name, they’d come almost every weekend. And we had one girl who came down at age 11 and wanted to volunteer but was too young (we had a minimum age of 14), and so waited 3 years and then applied. Her parents would drive her down each week at the crack of dawn so that she could come out to learn. The younger volunteers are always the most enthusiastic learners, too.

  2. I found out the other day that they do regular bird banding at a nature center here in Rochester. I hope to be able to get involved with this–I’ve been inspired by the stories you and Tom share about banding. They also band saw whets in the fall and are looking for volunteers to help with that too.

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