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

Backyard Banding

Eastern Tufted Titmouse
Eastern Tufted Titmouse

This morning Young Naturalist J and I decided to do a little banding in my back yard. Our goal was to catch those Pine Siskin and Redpolls that had visited my house last Friday. Although the Redpoll never returned, we “just” missed an opportunity to band one of the Pine Siskins! 😦

White-breasted Nuthatch Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch and Red-breasted Nuthatch

We did catch 12 Black-capped Chickadees, a Slate-colored Junco (both Junco and Chickadees will be talked about in another post here soon) and 16 American Goldfinch. We observed 3 Pine Siskins at the feeder but banded none. We were very happy banding the Tufted Titmouse, a White-breasted Nuthatch and 3 Red-breasted Nuthatch.

J and EVGR
Young Naturalist J banding the Evening Grosbeak

I just knew I had been hearing the Evening Grosbeaks up in the trees the past few days but couldn’t visually confirm seeing them. Just as we closed up the traps to eat some hotdogs for lunch . . . . I yell “LOOK, EVENING GROSBEAKS” (My first for 2007 – CHECK)! We ignored lunch and opened the traps again! Sure enough we were able to catch a male Evening Grosbeak!

Evening Grosbeak Bill Bite
The Evening Grosbeaks big bill and its bite marks

Young Naturalist J ran out to grab a hold of it and quickly learned a lesson on how they use their large bills to open seeds!! I heard him scream “owwww” from inside the house!! Although this bird did leave some red marks, J enjoyed banding this most beautiful yellow bird and was only nailed 4 times with its bill! I hope that tonight we can catch some more fluff balls!

Evening Grosbeak
Evening Grosbeak

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29 responses

  1. banderparents

    looks like young naturalist J forgot that it is related to the cardinal — kiss, kiss on the finger from mom sitting here at home!

    11 November 2007 at 5:30 pm

  2. Moooomm… I am not a little kid anymore, but thanks. The Grosbeak hurt really bad! I knew it could hurt me but I have never gotten hit by it! I know what it feels like now. Also learned to be really careful. It was a good day for sure!

    11 November 2007 at 5:47 pm

  3. Marg

    Awesome!!! Congrats Tom and J looks like a great session.

    11 November 2007 at 5:56 pm

  4. Awesome picture – I can see the individual feathers on the titmouse.

    11 November 2007 at 5:58 pm

  5. NaturesPalette

    Wow! That first shoot is great! What a face!!

    The evening grossbeak is a huge bird, that bite looks nasty too.

    11 November 2007 at 6:00 pm

  6. @ Banderparents – LOL – he is a fast learner!
    @ Birdbander11 – it moved fast for sure!
    @ Marg – this was a great session for sure! Thanks
    @ Wren – I love when pictures turn out like that! Great!
    @ NaturePalette – Thanks they are cute for sure! They do have a bite on them!

    11 November 2007 at 7:06 pm

  7. Fabulous tuftie picture!
    And congrats on that longed-for Evening Grosbeak. I’m looking forward to some feeder days this week, and the start of PFW.

    11 November 2007 at 8:28 pm

  8. Catch that Titmouse! LOL! I can’t even lay my eyes on those hyper little birds :o) How loud was it?

    Lovely Grosbeak! A large bird!

    Young Naturalist J and you are quite a team.

    11 November 2007 at 9:44 pm

  9. Great picture of the Titmouse. Your pictures really show off the beak of the Evening Grosbeak and their size. I didn’t know they were that large of a bird. What a magnificent bird!

    Naturalist J is truly dedicated to continue after that nasty bite. Great job Naturalist J!

    11 November 2007 at 10:30 pm

  10. @ Zen – thanks and I loved the Tufted Titmouse also! I sure hope you get your Evening Grosbeak any day now!
    @ Mary – that Titmouse was very loud bird for sure! Those grosbeaks have very large bills! He did most of the work this weekend!
    @ Erie – It has been two years since I have handed one and forgot how large their bills are! He is real good at taking one for the team!

    11 November 2007 at 11:44 pm

  11. Poor Young Naturalist J, that must have hurt! Great photos, I like the comparison between the white and red-breasted nuthatches, side by side. 🙂 Beautiful Evening Grosbeak!

    12 November 2007 at 12:08 am

  12. That’s a big ol’ bill to get chomped by. Glad it didn’t take any flesh for its supper! Amazing.

    12 November 2007 at 12:15 am

  13. i see alot of bird nipping going on ha! that bird has a big beak, poor j, he looks like a natural though. great photos. ~nita~ ps no midget birds?

    12 November 2007 at 12:45 am

  14. Wow, evening grosbeaks. We haven’t seen even one in at least the past five years even though we actively participate in the Christmas bird count.

    12 November 2007 at 9:15 am

  15. @ Chicago – Thanks and it is nice seeing both species together!
    @ Liz – They do have big bills!! But those owl talons would get him worse! Did you notice his sweatshirt covering his hands?
    @ Nita – he’s becoming one heck of a good naturalist for sure!
    @ threecollie – its been 2 years since I have seen one but great for sure to encounter!

    12 November 2007 at 9:27 am

  16. You get the best photographs! That Tufted Titmouse perspective is just incredible. Love those Evening Grosbeaks, and a great reminder on how powerful those little bills are. Ouch.

    12 November 2007 at 10:45 am

  17. I remember my first Cardinal Experience(lesson learned.The Saw-whet are still moving North of the Border, so feel free to break the Century Mark!

    12 November 2007 at 12:18 pm

  18. Oh, I just LOVE that Tufted Titmouse head shot! 🙂

    So sorry that Young Naturalist J got bitten ~ that HAD to hurt! 😦

    Wonderful series, Tom.

    12 November 2007 at 2:38 pm

  19. Lisa at Greenbow

    Despite the bite it sounds like yous gize are having too much fun!

    12 November 2007 at 3:32 pm

  20. Such an expressive bird. “Just why are you staring at ME!”

    12 November 2007 at 4:00 pm

  21. Always a delight coming to visit you! Evening Grosbeak! I have only seen pictures but none as good as yours. The nipping looks as if it hurt! Yikes! Tufted is so very cute…I have not seen one at the feeder for a couple of weeks.
    Young Naturalist J looks as if he has found his calling. You are the perfect mentor.

    12 November 2007 at 5:05 pm

  22. Young naturalist J can wear his beak-mark insignia with pride. (Does he get combat pay:0)


    12 November 2007 at 6:54 pm

  23. I’m pleased to have found your site today (particularly as I used to live in the Niagara Region of Canada, just across “the river” from WNY.) Beautiful pictures. Keep up the good banding work!

    12 November 2007 at 7:39 pm

  24. @ Robin – I have great subjects to photograph! Thanks!
    @ Garth – they have a bite but those Rose-breasted Grosbeaks can really do a number on you! Can’t wait to see more of them owls!
    @ Ladybug – thanks and it sounded like it hurt!
    @ Lisa – we always have fun!! Thanks!
    @ Barb – that would be a great title! Thanks!
    @ Sherry – glad you enjoyed visiting this site! Your kind words is what helps encouraging me to post more! Perfect mentor – did you see that bite mark on his finger?? A good mentor wouldn’t let that happen! But we have fun learning how not to let that happen!
    @ Cathy – that would make a great tattoo for us banders! This is where I was bitten by a Evening Grosbeak! LOL
    @ Lana – I am so glad you found me here and sure hope you were able to subscribe to my RSS feeds! Thanks and hope my post remind you of good old WNY!

    12 November 2007 at 9:44 pm

  25. Well, I’m sorry that you and J got dinged up by them, but they are very cool birds. Glad that you got to see them so close up.

    13 November 2007 at 3:24 am

  26. Just J got dinged up! But very cool for sure! close up is the only way!

    13 November 2007 at 3:36 pm

  27. Grace

    Has it been 2 years already since the last Evening Grosbeaks came through? They better still be around when I get back to work on Thursday!

    13 November 2007 at 10:30 pm

  28. Hi Mon@rch,
    Those are such great photos you have–especially love that titmouse!

    Those Evening Grosbeaks are so beautiful and I never realized how huge their beaks are. That pinch on YNJ’s finger sure looks painful. So can you tell me–what do the Evening Grosbeaks normally eat that requires such a powerful beak?

    14 November 2007 at 8:55 am

  29. Evening Grosbeak! Cool! What a handsome looking bird!

    15 November 2007 at 1:41 am

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