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

Another SWAT morning!

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler being released on the MAPS Cap

Today a family from Michigan (who are camping in Allegany for the week) visited our SWAT MAPS banding station here in Allegany State Park. They have been attending my nature walks since 1999 and joined me with my bird banding for as long as we have been friends. They have always supported our studies and volunteered to make all of our bird bags that we are using. They saved the banding station with their wonderful sowing skills and we are grateful for all they have done for us!!!

american redstart

American Redstart

We were able to band 13 different species of birds and handled 25 different individuals. We had some excitement when we captured a Brown Thrasher (I was wondering if we had any at this site). We also had fun examining a male American Redstart who had yellow tail feathers and orange wing feathers (sorry, the picture doesn’t do it justice).

Baltimore Oriole

Young Naturalist H with a female Baltimore Oriole

I would like to thank Young Naturalist H for stepping into the role of being my field assistant for the day. She did a little assisting last season and once again she was very helpful in putting up with my numerous jobs that I gave her. She did so well this year that we gave her an opportunity to process our last three birds for the day (with my help)! For my regular blog readers, Young Naturalist J will not be banding birds with me this weekend. He will be in Maine whitewater rafting with a bunch of friends (doesn’t it sound like fun?)! We will miss his help but it is to Young Naturalist H’s advantage as she will be this weekend’s field assistant again! This will be a great opportunity for her continuing working with the birds before heading back to Michigan.

Yellow Warbler

Juvenal plumaged Yellow Warbler

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow with an old injury!

We also found a Song Sparrow who had a deformed foot (or had broken it and it healed funny). Since it had no movement with its toes, when it would perch or grab something . . . the sparrow would use the side of its foot! Its weight and measurements were right on task with the other Song Sparrows but the side of its foot was raw from walking on it all the time. We will have to watch this bird to see how it does with its bum foot.

American Toad

The kids found a very large American Toad at the Banding Station.

smelling their head

Me teaching the kids some bad habits in smelling the woodpeckers heads.

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21 responses

  1. Mon@rch, I’ve never seen a Chestnut-sided Warbler in the wild and especially not one in a faint on a ballcap! Great shot, and most unexpected! By the way, what do woodpeckers’ heads smell like?

    26 June 2007 at 12:50 am

  2. What an awesome program — bad habits or no, you are teaching those kids things they will remember for a lifetime!

    26 June 2007 at 1:43 am

  3. To see these birds up close is awesome! Great pictures!

    26 June 2007 at 3:33 am

  4. What an utterly sweet photo of smelling the woodpecker’s head. Indeed, this day will be the topic of many “how I spent my summer vacation” presentations. Memories for a lifetime.

    26 June 2007 at 7:03 am

  5. These children are fortunate to have parents who are involved in your program, and fortunate to have you as a mentor. Your pictures should be made into posters for schools.

    26 June 2007 at 7:19 am

  6. Marg

    Awwwwwwwww I wanta be there….hey do I get a hat when I finally show up? 😀

    26 June 2007 at 8:55 am

  7. What DOES a woodpecker head smell like???
    Those are some amazing pictures Mon@rch and you should be proud of the the impact you are having on those young people’s lives. I’m grateful that you are there sparking a passion for nature!!

    (I wanna hat too…)

    26 June 2007 at 9:32 am

  8. @ Lost Roses – LOL, the CSWA’s are great little birds to do a lullaby with the kids and put it to sleep on their head. Great little banding trick we do! Hmm, Well woodpeckers have a very unique musk odor to them . . . think of it this way, they are always in the pines, always chipping away at the trees, gets all kinds of sap on them! hmm, heaven …. I can smell it now!
    @Liz – LOL, lets hope they just turn these experiences into every day experiences and they become professors and or active biologist one day! They then do the same thing with teaching kids, etc..
    @ Linda – thanks and it sure is fun to see them up close!
    @ Jayne – that is a fun photo, isn’t it?? Most of these kids that I highlight on the blog have been banding with me since a much younger age! Its almost overlooked by them because they are always doing it like soccer or baseball they did over the summer!
    @ Ruth – You have no idea how lucky their parents are! I have many other kids who would do wonderful if given the opportunity to band with me! But, those parents who refuse to wake up early on a vacation day or day off are the ones who are holding their children back!
    @ Marg – For $15 you can get one for sure!! We have both the green and blue high profiles left and always try to remember to bring them with me.
    @ Lynne – as said above “Woodpeckers have a very unique musk odor to them . . . think of it this way . . . . they are always in the pine trees . . . . they always are chipping away at the trees . . . . . gets all kinds of sap on them . . . . ” Well, ok they smell like a musky wet bird but it’s a smell that you must be a bander to appreciate! Lynne – for $15 . . . I have both the green and blue high profiles left!

    26 June 2007 at 10:29 am

  9. Wonderful bird pictures again. Your teaching extends from real life to the internet as well. I certainly learn a great deal from your site – have never observed banding except in these pictures. As for the kids, there is a saying I can’t get find it now, but something to the effect that what you know is what you will be likely to protect.

    26 June 2007 at 10:50 am

  10. I found the quote:

    It is said that people only love what they know/understand, and they only protect what they love.

    26 June 2007 at 1:16 pm

  11. This is awesome Tom! So great you have these kids to help you and that you’re teaching them so much! Awesome photos, as always!

    26 June 2007 at 5:05 pm

  12. Grace

    I saw the family at my beaver walk on Saturday. I’m glad to see they found you, and got to band some birds. I’m determined to get to your site at least once this summer. I want a birdie on my head too.

    26 June 2007 at 5:53 pm

  13. Love that toad! Mon@rch, you are blessed. I’d love to have your job. You are so generous with letting the kids sniff a woodpeckers head. I’d love to do that…

    Thanks for such an enlightening post!

    Keep going!

    26 June 2007 at 9:55 pm

  14. Love the photo of the little guy smelling the woodpecker’s head. The kid looks like he’s in 7th heaven–eyes shut & all.
    I’ll bet you have a young naturalist in the making every time you tell a kid to smell a woodpecker’s head. Hooked for life!

    26 June 2007 at 10:39 pm

  15. KGMom above – said it for me – those are the sweetest pictures ever – ‘hooked for life’. Imagine smelling a woodpecker’s head. Awwwww.

    27 June 2007 at 8:06 am

  16. Great shots – those are some lucky kids!

    27 June 2007 at 10:40 am

  17. You must have a blast working with all of these kids … looks like a lot of fun.

    27 June 2007 at 2:04 pm

  18. Okay, I give: What’s the point of smelling a woodpecker’s head?

    27 June 2007 at 2:51 pm

  19. @ Natureshutterbug – Thanks and love that quote! Thanks for sharing!
    @ Pam – thanks and glad they are able to join me!
    @ Grace – You better come and you can be sure that we can make that happen!
    @ Mary – I had a photo of her with the juv Yellow Warbler but how could I have not included that Toad shot?
    @ KGMom – Thanks and we get into learning about the birds! Lets hope it happens!
    @ Cathy – thanks and I can promise it is a smell you will never forget!
    @ Adam – thanks and I feel lucky to be able to share these experiences with them.
    @ Marty – It is fun for sure! Thanks!
    @ Ed – its fun and I can promise that its something that you have never smelled before! Well, isn’t really your answer but just something that I think everyone who visits the banding station should do once in their life.

    27 June 2007 at 8:32 pm

  20. Steve Osterling

    I have been reading your blog for some time now and enjoy it immensely. Our family has a “deer” camp in PA and we visit often. This week July 3 thru 7 I will be in the area and would like the opportunity to see your banding station if we( four High school sophomores and I) could. Is there a map or directions to we could use to find you?

    28 June 2007 at 7:57 am

  21. Steve, sending you an email!

    28 June 2007 at 8:55 am

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