My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

First Day of Banding

Black-billed Cuckoo

Sunday started our 7th season of banding over at the CLDC – MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station. We were concerned over the weather remnants of “Barry” who got close enough that we almost had to close the station down early (due to the rain/thunder). Although we were lucky given that the thunderstorm passed just to the east of us and we received only a few rain drops. Temperatures ranged from 59F to 78F and everyone commented on how humid it was. It was cloudy for most of the morning and I think it was almost 11:00am once the sun finally start to peak through.


The banding station captured 15 different species of birds and caught 40 different individuals. We were able to placed 31 new bands on birds, recaptured 9 birds from the previous year(s) and collected 23 avian bird flu samples. Besides myself, we had 2 field assistants (Young Naturalist J and Matt) who assisted with in the banding (ok, 3 but Mel didn’t show up till the last hour) and then had 4 visitors who arrived around 8am to see our banding process (only 1 who had visited the station before).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Over the past 4 years the banding station has gone through a drastic change with the help of the Viburnum Leaf Beetle. This year was the first year that I had truly noticed a difference in the arrow-wood shrubs decomposing away and the net locations seem to be more open than in years past. I had been concerned that many of our bird species would disappear once the beetles arrived but that wasn’t the case. We actually had an increase in our diversity of species due to a larger supply of food (V. Leaf Beetle) that the birds were able to gorge on. When setting up the nets this year, I was only able to locate a few Arrow-wood root sprouts and they were already being chewed up by some larva. But the supply of beetles should be down and I expected our bird numbers to go way down also. I don’t think we caught as many as we did the first year we opened but I thought we did excellent job (considering).

Measuring the wing

The Mourning Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler and Blue-winged Warblers were my highlighted birds for the day. Young Naturalist enjoyed watching the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks take some chunks out of my fingers and the Downy Woodpeckers take some whacks at my knuckles (and he didn’t get bit or whacked at all). Although everyone enjoyed banding the Indigo Buntings, House Wrens (Matt, watch those House Wrens, they are tricky little things) and Black-billed Cuckoo!!

He thinks

I would like to thank my two field assistants for getting up at 4:30am in the morning to help out with the banding process. This was Matt’s first day as a Field Assistant (not visitor) and he did a wonderful job with the numerous jobs that I gave him! A big high five to Young Naturalist J for another wonderful day doing what he does best! I would also like to thank everyone who has purchased t-shirts and our hats over the past two years! This season we purchased 10 new mist-nets and 20 new poles for the banding station. New equipment really does make a difference when removing birds from the mist nets and in the long run is safer for the birds (which is our number 1 priority). THANKS!

Mourning Warbler

14 responses

  1. rick

    looks like you had a perfect day banding birds. love your pictures

    4 June 2007 at 11:28 pm

  2. Gorgeous birds and yay for you for including kids!

    4 June 2007 at 11:38 pm

  3. Barry

    They are lucky to have such a knowledgeable teacher, looks like alot of fun too.

    Keep up the good work.

    5 June 2007 at 12:32 am

  4. Ohhhhhh, I looooove all these photos Monarch. I am green with envy and wish I were the one holding that Grosbeak! What a great day!

    5 June 2007 at 6:55 am

  5. @ Rick – was perfect, thanks!
    @ Liz – when given kids the opportunity and responsibility, they can do amazing job!
    @ Barry – thanks and believe it or not, they teach me things also!
    @ Jayne – thanks and you just have to be careful of that bill! When I held the female like that, well. . . . I had imprints of its bill in my finger! I can’t remember but he might have also gotten a goodbye bite also!

    5 June 2007 at 8:26 am

  6. Mon@rch: Great banding pix and post! Especially like the cuckoo! Good to see you at the ANP, too. Cheers!

    5 June 2007 at 4:20 pm

  7. I *love* your photos Tom, and glad you got more birds than you expected! And kids are the best IMHO!

    5 June 2007 at 4:38 pm

  8. Do you get bored when you go birding because you get to see so many birds close up?

    5 June 2007 at 8:58 pm

  9. I’ve never seen photos like these. Wow! I just can’t imagine the satisfaction at the end of a day like this. You recovered 9 birds that had been banded before? Well that is just so neat.

    5 June 2007 at 9:32 pm

  10. @BT3 – thanks and I had no idea you were sleeping in your van! You could have stayed at my place! I did have an extra bedroom! Hope you are able to make it out next year also!
    @ Pam – thanks and lets see how well we do tomorrow for the SWAT site (it was rescheduled for tomorrow)!
    @ Larry – Birding and Bored should never be used together at the same time! LOL, not really!
    @ Cathy – Very fun and I need to go back into my records to see how old they are! The one house wren I think was banded 4 years ago but not 100% sure until I pull the records out!

    5 June 2007 at 10:37 pm

  11. Let me join the swelling chorus of those complimenting your photos. WOW! Such lovely close-ups and great detail.
    And hurray for young people who care about our world & are learning the wonders you have to teach them.

    5 June 2007 at 10:53 pm

  12. These are the coolest pictures ever.

    5 June 2007 at 11:22 pm

  13. Great set of birds – looks like a very successful banding experience! Love the eye on that cuckoo.

    6 June 2007 at 3:46 pm

  14. Monica

    Such great great shots…showing off the birds’ very individual personalities!

    Such great work!

    7 June 2007 at 9:04 pm

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