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

Opening of the SWAT Station

Catbirds throat

First bird caught at the SWAT station – Gray Catbird!

Today (Wednesday) was the very first day of banding at the SWAT – MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station. I had to reschedule it after a storm had moved through on Monday morning and I felt bad about rescheduling since a few birding friends were willing to help me out with the banding (since I didn’t know how many birds that I would catch). So I ended up banding alone today. Temperatures ranged from 41F to 58F and we did have a very brief shower around 9am. It had been foggy all morning and the sun didn’t peak out until 10:30am.


A SWAT Net Lane

One of the Net Lanes at the SWAT Site.

The banding station captured 14 different species of birds and banded 30 different individuals. Since this was our first time ever banding at this location, all captures were newly banded birds. We did have a cuckoo species (got out before I could get to it) which isn’t included in the list of birds caught.

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroat

We had many wonderful birds singing around the nets but their were very few moving around. I hope next time to add Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow-billed Cuckoo etc.. to the lists of birds banded at this site. I blame the low numbers on the weather starting off cold, very foggy and then having light rain (for 10 minutes) half way through the banding session. We caught a good majority of the birds once the conditions became better later in the day.

American Redstart

second year male American Redstart


Magnolia Warbler

The highlights of the day had to have been the Baltimore Oriole, Magnolia Warbler and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. I had to release the Ruby Throated Hummingbird unbanded since my permits do not allow me to band them. I also enjoyed banding and looking at the size difference of both the Downy and Hairy Woodpecker. The Swamp Sparrows were also fun since I don’t get to band many of them at my other site.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow

The Willow and Alder Flycatcher had previously been known as the “Traill’s Flycatcher”. Then Ornithologist was able to finally prove that the “Traill’s Flycatcher” was really two different species. Both have different songs and live in two different habitats. Although, they are now looked at as two distinct species, they are still almost impossible to identify when in the hand. The CLDC site have Alder Flycatchers vocalizing and I strongly believe they are what I am use to banding. Although their had been an Alder vocalizing at the SWAT site, majority of the Empidonox singing were Willows. Since these three I had banded didn’t sing in my hand, I had to list them as “Traill’s Flycatcher”.

baltimore oriole

Baltimore Oriole

I can’t wait to see what birds we end up banding over the next 10 years at this site. It truly has the potential to be an amazing banding location and many educational opportunities. More pictures can be found on my flickr site.

A Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

24 responses

  1. You have an awesome job.
    Was that swamp sparrow a young one? It almost looks like you can see the remains of the yellow “gape”.
    Of course, I have never seen a swamp sparrow that close, so I might be full of it.
    : )

    7 June 2007 at 12:21 am

  2. Wish I could get that close to birds. Fabulous pictures – especially the Cedar Waxwing.

    7 June 2007 at 12:33 am

  3. Are you shooting these pix on the macro setting? These photos are like watching fireworks, each seeming to be more beautiful than the one before. You are giving us views of these wonderful birds that I will not likely ever see. Thanks for taking the time to share these Mon@rch!
    Love the catbird!

    7 June 2007 at 4:51 am

  4. Marg

    Wow Tom despite the weather a great day. I love how the first shot is a catbirds complaining, they like to do that 😀

    Oooooo Flycatchers very hard aren’t they…why don’t they make it easier and sing while in the hand (we wish)

    All these shots are fantastic! Congrats on a great beginning

    7 June 2007 at 5:15 am

  5. winterwoman

    Oh, Tom! This is a very fun post. Love all the bird photos. Keep up the good work. Can I come band with you one of these days?

    7 June 2007 at 6:18 am

  6. I agree with Lynne. Your photos just spring to life Tom. Um, can you possibly have a huge “take your poor birding friends to work day” sometime? :c)

    7 June 2007 at 6:56 am

  7. So cool. I love all the mouth open shots — they look like they are telling you off. 🙂 I would come band with you — no worries!

    7 June 2007 at 9:51 am

  8. My jaw is hanging open. I think this is the best post of bird photos I’ve ever seen!!!!! I can’t choose a favoriate, Mon@rch. How many people have seen the back of a bird’s throat? If I were nearby, you’d never go alone.

    7 June 2007 at 10:10 am

  9. That’s incredible! You can see the fine texture of the feathers. I love the hummingbird picture. He looks a little bit scared and was probably so glad to be let go, they are so so small. I love your pictures!

    7 June 2007 at 12:27 pm

  10. I have to add my voice to the chorus. Amazing! How do you decide where to set up a banding station and why not this sight before?

    7 June 2007 at 1:45 pm

  11. Wow, awesome macros Tom! Seeing these birds so close is awesome – no wonder you enjoy it sooo much!

    7 June 2007 at 4:00 pm

  12. Monica

    Hello Mon@rch:
    Your photos, always astonishing, just get more & more amazing. I’m surprised by how calm some of the birds appear, especially the yellowthroat & redstart. You must have been holding them just the right way to inspire trust.

    Congratulations on your new station.

    Best wishes,

    7 June 2007 at 8:49 pm

  13. Just beautiful pictures! I definetly have to visit a banding sight.

    7 June 2007 at 9:02 pm

  14. Add me to all those saying ooos and aahhhhs at your photos. The detail is unbelievable. Each feather completely visible.
    The humming bird photo is amazing–actually all the photos are.

    7 June 2007 at 10:36 pm

  15. What a great bunch of birds! Magnificent photos too!

    7 June 2007 at 10:37 pm

  16. Excellent photos! Such great detail… what do you use? How many megapixels? Those are some pretty cool birds to be catching, too. Oh, and not to nitpick, but it’s “Traill’s”. I hope you keep up the success at the new site.

    8 June 2007 at 12:17 am

  17. Hi Tom,
    Those are fabulous pictures! It’s really neat to see close-up view of the feathers–especially on that little hummingbird. Thanks for letting us have a look.

    8 June 2007 at 8:23 am

  18. Wow! What a dazzling array of colors. They take my breath away. That Baltimore Oriole is truly magnificent. You must really love your job! It shows.

    8 June 2007 at 10:51 am

  19. Fabulous shots that prove that a bird in the hand is worth at least two in the bush 🙂

    8 June 2007 at 11:04 am

  20. @ Susan – thanks and this was an adult male Swamp Sparrow. Although the little ones should be out flying soon! Juv’s don’t have as much gray in the crown.
    @ NatureSB – thanks and I bet you could find a local bander somewhere near you!
    @ Lynne – this was taken with macro with my point-and-shoot camera! Much easier to get shots like this than using the D70s.
    @ Marg – thanks and they really are not that bad! Just use page 219 in pyle and you are all set!
    @ Jen – without a doubt, you can get my schedule from the MAPS tab above.
    @ Jayne – Thanks and anytime you want to come over,down, up (whatever direction you are).
    @ Liz – Would love to have everyone one of you join me! Thanks and sometimes they do tell me off!
    @ Mary – blush!! Thanks and that is a neat photo, isn’t it!!
    @ Linda – hummingbird was alright, only handled for a few minutes (took a few shots then . . gone)!
    @ Trixie – I have been searching for the perfect spot for the past few years and just found it last summer. Being in the park, I needed to have easy access to it but still be remote away from the public.
    @ Pam – thanks and sure do!
    @ Monica – They are very laid back and I have even had the birds catch insects while in my hand. I have had a few species even sing in my hand. Does stress a little but they quickly get back into their thing once I let them go.
    @ KGMom – Thanks and glad you enjoyed them!
    @ Barb – thanks
    @ Nick – I am using my point-and-shoot which is a 6 megapixel. Much easier to get these shots with it than using the D70s! And, please continue to do, I have had very little sleep recently and I make simple dumb mistakes all the time (its my nature to do)!
    @ Ruthie – So glad you enjoyed them!
    @ Robin – thanks and do love these birds colors also!
    @ Adam – thanks 🙂

    8 June 2007 at 9:19 pm

  21. My goodness, how wonderful! I’m sorry I missed that! I have cedar waxwings in my shower house all the time. The Oriole I’ve never seen around here before. Of course June is nuts over here, but Sheryl and I would love to join you sometime. Did you upgrade cameras yet?


    9 June 2007 at 10:53 am

  22. Grace

    I love the detail on the hummer’s throat feathers. Too bad you can’t band them when you catch them anyway.

    9 June 2007 at 4:51 pm

  23. Amazing photographs – you’re developing quite a collection of gorgeous birds from your banding trips. Well, except for that catbird – he didn’t seem really happy about the experience.

    I’m curious, though – why does your banding permit limit you to certain species. I could see keeping raptors off of the list, but it would seem that most other smaller birds would be included. How segmented is the permit?

    12 June 2007 at 9:24 am

  24. @ John, would have loved to had you join me! I have the schedule posted on the MAPS page if you are interested in coming over anytime soon. I still do have my can D70s camera and just upgraded the computer (will be a while till I can get anything else new for a while).
    @ Grace – that was more of a luck shot for me! I just held the camera, went click, click, click and on I went! I wish I could band them!
    @ Marty – thanks and they are such fun birds! LOL – that catbird wasn’t happy at all (and was still dark, lighting wasn’t good, but worked in this one shot). Hummingbirds take a special kind of band and have a more intense training program to be certified to band them! They have tinier feet and just a tricky bird to band! Maybe one day I will get certified in banding hummingbirds! My permit allows all species EXCEPT: Hummingbirds, Waterfowl, Game Birds, Threatened and Endangered Species.

    12 June 2007 at 10:55 am

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