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


Scarlet Tanager

Did you ever have one of these days when many good things happen but then you have some bad things happen! Today is just one of those days at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station.

Scarlet Tanager

Me Banding the Scarlet Tanager (Photo by Young Naturalist J)

GOOD, It was at 9:30 and was just before what I call the 10 o’clock rush!!! In net five I noticed that we had 4 birds and I yelled “we’ve got birdies”!! I started to extract the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker from the net, while Young Naturalist J worked his way down towards the Blue-winged Warbler. I could see the American Redstart but really didn’t get a good look at that 4th bird. I guess I had assumed it was another Redstart or Common Yellowthroat . . . . but I suddenly hear, “ooo ooo good bird”! I hear with my bionomic hearing the words mumbled “SCARLET TANAGER”!! Guess what Young Naturalist J was extracting from the net?? We called back on the radio this amazing bird and for some reason, NO ONE BELIEVED ME>?? Although, I ended up with the last laugh since I was the one who ended up banding the bird. It was such an awesome bird and a real highlight of the day for the whole group!

Group shot

Group Photo of everyone!

Young Naturalist J was my field assistant for the day and his parents also assisted. We had another wonderful surprise when a family showed up to the station who hasn’t visited the banding station in about 3 years. It is amazing how the kids look so much older than how I remember them so many years ago.

Sam and little smiles!

Samantha with an American Robin


A Bluebird drawing that Samantha did for me on Aug 15th 2002.

We ended up capturing 26 individuals and 18 different species. We were able to place 18 new bands on their legs and had some previously banded birds from prior month. These numbers were not perfect but good enough for me.

Blue-winged Warbler

Blue-winged Warbler

BAD, the Longtailed Weasel struck again with another catbird but this time in net number one. I closed up that net and now very concerned that it has found another net of mine. As we were closing all of the nets at the noon hour we found two Song Sparrows in net three that this same weasel got. Ugg, I have already contact the Institute of Bird Populations in what they recommend me doing for future years. At this point I will be cancelling my last SWAT banding session on the 3rd of August. This has been such a wonderful banding site and would really hate seeing the station totally closed because of this weasel but, safety of the birds is our number one priority. !!

american redstart

American Redstart

15 responses

  1. The picture of Samantha with (I assume) her little brother is priceless! I am grateful that you are providing the next generation with these bir experiences. They’ll be the ones to carry on and care. Kudos to you Mon@rch!!
    Sorry about the weasel. Could you trap and relocate it? I guess it’s just being a weasel.

    25 July 2007 at 9:40 am

  2. Marg

    Wow-good and bad for sure-for example that Tanager and Blue Winged Warbler must have run into some bad weather because they were two days to late!

    and BAD, BAD, BAD about the weasel. I wonder what your feedback will be and oh yeah fabulous photos as always!

    25 July 2007 at 10:01 am

  3. Weasels will weasel, I guess. Darn.

    But what a great day! The photo of Samantha is so nice… Lucky girl. And that Redstart is beautiful. Too bad you have to cancel in August but there will be more opportunities.

    25 July 2007 at 10:21 am

  4. The work you do with the birds and the kids is just fantastic. When I see the smile on the kids’ faces, I know you are changing the world.

    25 July 2007 at 11:06 am

  5. Your posts just keep on getting better. Fabulous first picture of the Scarlet Tanager – but all the pictures are of high quality.

    What a great series of youngster’s involvement and education in bird banding. What about a section on kid’s bird art ?

    25 July 2007 at 12:10 pm

  6. @Lynne – thanks and it was a friends little kid the family brought to the station. We all need to do these little things for our (I don’t have any) future leaders! It doesn’t take a great deal but just keeping them involved is important (so I believe)!
    @ Marg – I so wish you had been able to see the Tanager or Blue-winged! Uggg, not good for the weasel for sure!
    @ Mary – isn’t good and I did love that shot of her! Regarding canceling in August, its what needs to be done (if I like it or not)! Right now we just need to make the final decision if I am able to open next year also! Doesn’t look good though!
    @ Robin – Thanks and we all can make those differences a little step at a time! I am involved with birds and so that’s where I try making the difference! We all have our own ways of encouraging our future leaders!
    @ Shutterbug – Thanks and helps when you have great subjects to shoot! I don’t have many kids art pictures but might be able to come up with a few others!

    Thanks again everyone for your such kind comments!

    25 July 2007 at 1:06 pm

  7. Incredible images Tom, what a great find in the Tanager, love the kid shot as well. Sorry you had to cancel, you know they don’t call them weasels for nothing, I am just kidding it’s doing what it is supposed to do, less energy easy prey. Talk at you later.

    25 July 2007 at 3:12 pm

  8. Great bird shots – and congrats on the tanager.

    So, I assume that capturing and moving the weasel isn’t an option because it’s in its natural habitat and is just doing what it should do?

    25 July 2007 at 5:49 pm

  9. Very cool you banded a Scarlet Tanager Tom!! Cool about the family visiting and helping you, too!! Too bad about the weasel. I hope you get it figured out.

    25 July 2007 at 6:00 pm

  10. Wow! I always enjoy your birds.
    Always the safety of the birds first.
    That is what makes you a remarkable person.

    25 July 2007 at 9:59 pm

  11. Damn weasel.
    I love the drawing!
    And kids and bird banding…I have said it before: It’s GOOD!

    26 July 2007 at 12:06 am

  12. Wow, a Scarlet Tanager! I’ve only seen one once and it was beautiful. What a shame about the weasel.

    26 July 2007 at 12:18 am

  13. These photos of you with all the excited kids around you just makes my heart smile. So wonderful that they are so into this and that you have made it such a great experience for them all.

    26 July 2007 at 7:03 am

  14. @ Bernie – thanks and was very happy with the Tanager!! I don’t like having to do it but must be done!
    @ Marty – thanks and I don’t think relocating the weasel would solve my problem! Just up stream had a family of 5 LT Weasels and a mink was also in the area! Weasels are smart mammals and probably would have come back to this site (or I might not have even been able to trap it alive!! The proper thing is not to disrupt the community that is their and start looking for a new location to band. I don’t like that answer but is the proper thing to do!
    @ Pam – thanks and I was very excited! It was great having them at the station again, had been a few years! I think I know the answer but don’t want to admit to it!
    @ Sherry – Thanks and for sure that is the most important thing. Blush, this is our banders code of ethics that we “must” follow when banding.
    @ Susan – almost reminds me of your Sunday wrap-ups that you have been lax on! I just know you will be “LOVING” my next post with the Broad-winged Hawk!
    @ Linda – They are worth seeing more than once for sure!! Ugg, tell me about the weasel!
    @ Jayne – So glad that I have helped make you smile and you can be sure the kids are smiling also! Thanks!

    26 July 2007 at 8:11 am

  15. Hard to blame a weasel for being good at being a weasel, but that’s a bummer that it’s interfering with your banding ops! Lovely photos, as always!

    27 July 2007 at 11:22 am

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