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

BBBO Birdies

Golden-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet and my thumb

This week I have been posting pictures from our “big” banding day at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory, which is located in Rochester, NY. My first two post talked about the Wood-Warblers and the Thrush species that were banded by the BBBO Staff. Today I wanted to do a post on some of the other great birds that were banded and how the staff is able to run a station like this.

Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird

After the birdies are removed from the mist-nets, they would be taken back to the banding station to be banded. The volunteer staff is very organized and each staff member has a specific job that need to be done. Those that remove the birds from the nets are the net-pickers who make sure every half hour the 70ish nets scattered around the property are bird free. The banders are the ones who identify the birds and place the metal bands on their legs. They take numerous measurements, weigh them and then release them. The Braddock Bay Bird Observatory staff can have 4 banders processing birds at one time with 2 recording assistants. The recorders job is to make sure that the data being given to them by the 4 banders are properly being recorded into the log book. Did I mention how organized they are?? No wonder they are able to process hundreds of birds in a day!!

Red-eyed Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo

When Young Naturalist J and myself arrived at the station . . . .the BBBO Team was in full force banding birds. We kind-of crashed the station and arrived without letting them know ahead of time that we were coming. They were very friendly and we gave our hugs before the staff went right back to work. The very first bird we were handed after being weighed was the Golden-crowned Kinglet. Young Naturalist J noted how tiny this little birdie was and suggested that we take its photo next to my thumb (see above).

Brown Creeper
Brown Creeper

They were banding the birds so quickly and if we did not watch to see when they were weighing the bird we wanted a closer view of . . . . it would quickly be released out the window. I am trying to remember some of the other great birds we missed but the Winter Wren is the main bird that I keep on thinking about. That is one that I was watching as the bander was banding, some how got distracted by another bird they had and then realized the wren was gone!! Uggg

White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

We had several species of swallows which included the White-throated Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow and Song Sparrow. I might have missed the Lincoln’s sparrow with the busyness but that’s one species that I was hoping to see up close again.

Swamp Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow

The best part of visiting a banding station like this is that you just never know what they might catch. The “your kidding” capture for the day had to be the House Finch. I guess if it’s a Black-and-white Warbler or House Finch, they all should be treated the same (and so I also photographed it)!

House Finch
House Finch

29 responses

  1. Birdbander11

    Those were a good birds!

    27 September 2007 at 8:09 pm

  2. Nice to see the close up of the Golden-crowned Kinglet. They are hard for me to see well because of their tiny size and hyperactivity.

    27 September 2007 at 8:20 pm

  3. @ Birdbander11 – exactly!!
    @ Ruth – no worries and tell me about it, VERY tiny!

    27 September 2007 at 8:34 pm

  4. I think the Golden- crowned Kinglet is one of the prettiest birds I have ever seen. I have the House Finch here in the Spring time. I also have a Red tailed Hawk that regularly flys over our neighborhood, it is a little unusual because we live on the edge of town, and it seems like they are usually deeper in the country. Thanks for the kind response to my question on the banding, i am learning as i go. ~nita~

    27 September 2007 at 9:26 pm

  5. Great system, bird banding is awesome! I have helped out at our nearby Sand Bluff Birding Observatory, but I can’t handle the birds directly (because of nerves and allergies). We should have a “Bird Bander Appreciation Day” for those who work so hard to gather all this great research. 🙂

    Great photos, by the way!

    27 September 2007 at 9:40 pm

  6. I can’t believe you got to hold a Golden-crowned Kinglet. I can barely get a photograph of one. In late fall and winter we get lots of Golden-crowned and the Ruby-crowned, as well. No matter how still I stand, I have only gotten blurry shots of them. They are hardly ever still. Amazing to see one up close.

    I don’t know how you learn to hold the birds the way you do, but they all look quite content and not full of fear at all. It’s really very sweet to see them like that.

    27 September 2007 at 9:55 pm

  7. @ Nita – they are very pretty for sure! Thanks and sent you an email about the banding!
    @ Veery – thanks and very interesting about your allergies! It is wonderful you are able to enjoy them in other ways though!
    @ Robin – LOL, also had a ruby but not sure why we didn’t photograph one. They are not easy for sure in the wild!

    27 September 2007 at 11:07 pm

  8. They. Are. So. Cute.

    27 September 2007 at 11:44 pm

  9. Oh. My. That Kinglet and your thumb. Amazing. Wow!

    28 September 2007 at 1:46 am

  10. Again, a marvelous gallery of birds ” up close and personal” ,for a real treat, thanks to you taking the time to photograph the “catches of the day”.

    Most of the activity is banding the birds — but what about finding birds that are ALREADY BANDED ? Are many found ?? If so, are they ever ones that were banded there in previous seasons ??

    28 September 2007 at 7:27 am

  11. That Golden Crown Kinglet is just too cute. Makes you want to hold them all the more. How lucky for you and J.
    What a great mentor he has with you.

    28 September 2007 at 8:29 am

  12. I learn so much every time I visit, but I have especially enjoyed this week’s series. Great photos!

    28 September 2007 at 9:34 am

  13. Oh my goodness! So tiny!!
    I want to see them too.
    Thank you for all the bird photos.
    There are so many I have never seen.
    I also am curious about the banded birds.
    Do other stations catch them and report back to your station?
    How does this work?

    28 September 2007 at 10:54 am

  14. Marg

    Boy you guys sure had a great time! Wonderful birds and it was great to hear about such a HUGE (still in awe about the 70!) operation.

    28 September 2007 at 12:02 pm

  15. I’m not sure which I’m more amazed by – the birds you get to see an handle, or the pictures you take of them. I really need to schedule a trip up to visit you next year…

    28 September 2007 at 12:31 pm

  16. @ Susan – tell me about it! thanks
    @ liz – thanks
    @ cestoady – thanks and was fun seeing. regarding already banded! At my station we do get many more recaptures but those are to be expected because they are breeders and they are returning to breed in the same area. This migration work does get some recaptures but very few! those they do get are their own from previous day or so with the bird not moving on yet. I see many more foreign (someone else banded) with my saw-whet owls! I have caught 4 Saw-whet Owls from different banders up north. I have only caught 2 songbird recaptures and one of which was more or less banded very close by (and would be expected to return to the spot).
    @ toni – they are cute for sure!
    @ threecollie – great and hope I can keep the learning part of this going!
    @ sherry – thanks and look for a banding area near you. if a foreign bird is recaptured, they get reported to the bird banding lab who has all the bands in one big database.
    @ marg – we sure did and is a very big station.
    @ marty – I would be willing to say the same thing about your great birds that you get! Anytime for sure!

    28 September 2007 at 1:45 pm

  17. Such beautiful birdies, Tom. Thanks for sharing this experience with us!

    28 September 2007 at 2:18 pm

  18. They are all gorgeous…the golden crowned kinglet is a special little thing. Yes, they are all beautiful, even the house finch…

    If I had the opportunity to be there, I’d hyperventilate with excitement!

    28 September 2007 at 8:59 pm

  19. Phenomenally gorgeous photos, as always — you seem to so easily capture the radiant beauty in nature…especially with those winged ones 🙂

    That bee-bee kinglet, omg, it’s so cute. If I got a-hold of it, I’d wanna cuddle it so much I’d end up makin’ kinglet butter, lol 😉


    28 September 2007 at 9:13 pm

  20. Great shot Tom, I just had another spike 🙂

    28 September 2007 at 9:17 pm

  21. Great pics. I love the perspective on the kinglet.
    On my way to Burlington VT today, I stopped at Crown Point Bird Conservation Area on Lake Champlain where Mike Peterson runs a banding station during the spring only. What an experience that was.
    We decided we needed to head out to western NY next spring to visit your station. I’d love to see you at work.

    28 September 2007 at 10:48 pm

  22. These are so beautiful, even the housefinch.

    28 September 2007 at 11:07 pm

  23. @ Ladybug – thanks and happy to!
    @ mary – thanks and I two love both of the kinglets! You should be able to find a banding station in your area somewhere!
    @ Dove – thanks and helps having them up close! They are cute for sure those kinglets!
    @ Bernie – Still getting hits from the warblers! How crazy!
    @ Zen – I only deal with breeding birds and saw-whet owls in the fall! This place that I am at does do spring/fall migration work and about 2.5-3 hours away from where I live. But, BBBO is a great place to go for sure in the spring!
    @ Barb – Maybe this housefinch come from your house?

    29 September 2007 at 10:08 pm

  24. Oh that Kinglet is so tiny and cute! I have never seen one. It amazes me the variety of birdies you all get every time you band. I swear Tom, if I did what you get to do for a living, I would have to have some sort of procedure to relax the constant plastered smile to my face.

    30 September 2007 at 5:39 am

  25. What a great 3 part series; I love seeing these birds so close. I can’t wait to start seeing the owl pictures start showing up!

    30 September 2007 at 8:27 am

  26. I love that thumbshot (the little guy looks like he got a bit of raindrop on his head.) I really like your house finch shot – one or two occasionally show up on my feeder still so I’ve gotten a few recent shots of them myself. Other than that it’s pretty quiet on the western front. Hey, once again, gorgeous shots!

    30 September 2007 at 3:54 pm

  27. Always great photos! I just got done watching a large flock of Golden-Crowned kinglets that dropped in to my home town this morning.-lots of fun to see!

    30 September 2007 at 4:59 pm

  28. Oh Tom, those were such cool pictures. I’m glad you guys were able to help out with the banding and still get a few pictures to share with us.

    No wonder those kinglets are always so hard for me to see (even with binoculars), they are just so very tiny!

    30 September 2007 at 10:24 pm

  29. @ Jayne – they are cute for sure! I kinda wish I had photographed the many Ruby-crowned Kinglets they had! BTW: I had to take off of work last Monday to go do this (along with all my other banding days that I do)!
    @ Jeremy – thanks and how have you been doing? How is the job? No pictures tonight!
    @ aullori – thanks and they wet the head so that they can see through the skin at its skull. The younger birds have not developed their skull yet and helps with aging the bird.
    @ Larry – I would have loved to see all those kinglets!
    @ Ruthie – thanks and we did help with the net checks!

    30 September 2007 at 11:04 pm

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