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

Our Banding Adventure

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat

Young Naturalist J and I take these trips to the different banding stations for helping us explore how these organizations conduct their studies. Each project is different and they always have a way of showing us something that we had never seen before. The Navarre Marsh Banding Station in Ohio and the Presque Isle Banding Station in Erie PA were no exception and both stations were different in many ways. The truth is that we take these trips to enjoy the many wonderful birds that are not normally caught at our banding station (and for us to capture a few photos)!!

Mistnets at BSBO
Mistnet Lanes at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area

We were so excited once we made it through National Wildlife Refuge at Magee Marsh to finally see this famous banding station. We were allowed to follow the Black Swamp Bird Observatory staff around to check for birds in the mist-nets but even with our banding experience . . . we were not given any permission to handle the birds. Their protocol was for trained staff only to handle the birds, which wasn’t a problem and I agree that it is important to know who is handling your birds!

Nashville Warbler in net
Nashville Warbler caught in the mist-net

I wasn’t impressed with a few of the ways they worked with the birds but when you need to handle as many birds in a day like they do . . . . you come up with different ways of speeding up the banding process. I guess those are decisions that need to be decided upon by the on site bander-in-charge.

Mike the Bander
Mike who was a long time BSBO staff bander.

Young Naturalist J and I laughed at how excited the banding staff got when they captured a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the mist-net. We were in such an awww with so many other birds like the Prothonotary Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler and Cape May Warblers . . . . that the Red-breasted Nuthatch seemed like a secondary bird to us (since they are common breeders in my back yard).

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch

For the last hour of being at the banding station we listened to Black Swamp Bird Observatory staff talk to a group of birders who scheduled a visit to the banding station. I must admit that the crew did an amazing banding demonstration for the group and I like how they helped educate the visitors on the many important details of banding at their station (BRAVO JOB)

Group Talk
BSBO Staff talks to a birding group who visited the banding station.

Ok, more warbler and other birdie photos from our Ohio trip to be posted soon!


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11 responses

  1. Peter

    Sounds like it was a great adventure for the two of you! Quality time and birding.

    12 May 2008 at 7:21 am

  2. Sounds like a great time. I’ve only visited one banding station and it was a lot of fun. I need to do that more often. On my visit quite a few years ago, I actually had my first glimpse of a Connecticut Warbler. Too bad I couldn’t add it to my life list.

    Love the Yellowthroat shot!

    12 May 2008 at 9:29 am

  3. Bo

    What an odd shot of the Warbler in the mist net – he doesn’t look too disturbed, but it must have been a fright for him! No? I would love to go to a banding lecture and learn out about this fascinating activity – I’m going to check with Audubon and see what we have.

    I’m most do wildflowers, not birds, but maybe you’ll be the inspiration to branch into a new field… 🙂 Thanks.

    12 May 2008 at 9:43 am

  4. Great photos of some new birds. It’s wonderful how each area has some birds that other places rarely see. I suppose there are reasons why different areas handle birds differently. I would have thought there was one standard way of doing it, like strict rules about it.

    12 May 2008 at 10:15 am

  5. I can’t wait to see more of the shots! Again it looks like you had yet another enviable day. (What fun that must be!) 🙂 I loved the little nuthatch it’s amazing how small those little things are and your shots with hands in them really pay testimony to the size of these little birds. No wonder they are sometimes such a difficult capture with the camera!

    12 May 2008 at 2:04 pm

  6. The banding thing seems very cool – I’ll have to ask my buddy Joe if they are doing any banding in the near future that I can come by and see. As always, great pictures…

    12 May 2008 at 2:19 pm

  7. Marg

    It sure looks like an interesting place-LOL at Red Breasted Nuthatch-I’d have the same reaction as you

    12 May 2008 at 7:39 pm

  8. Lisa at Greenbow

    What is a trash bird to one is a treasure to another. Just holding a bird would be so exciting to me. I wouldn’t care which one.

    12 May 2008 at 8:08 pm

  9. @ Peter – Thanks and it sure was! Thanks
    @ Patrick – Thanks and it was amazing seeing these guys! Do get out and visit more banding stations!
    @ Bo – They are much calmer than you would expect them to be. Take for example this Northern Parula that we saw had actually captured this bug while the bird was in the banders hand. Stressed birds wouldn’t be doing this! I hope you do get out and find some birds!
    @ Linda – I have more pictures to come! Thanks and we all follow a banders code of ethics.
    @ aullori – It was an amazing day and was fun for sure! We had a hard time taking their photos with the bird in their hand! Lucky I was able to take a bazillion shots per picture!! Well not really but you know what I mean!
    @ Marty – thanks and do get out to visit your friend Joe!
    @ Marg – Very interesting place and was neat to see but I was much more excited with the Prothonotary.
    @ Lisa – thanks and they are all good! I was just more excited with some of the other birds!

    12 May 2008 at 8:14 pm

  10. Oh come on… I know you had to keep your hands in your pockets at times. ;c) It is nice to see how other stations operate I am sure.

    12 May 2008 at 8:21 pm

  11. Wow Mon@arch. I am enjoying this lesson in warblers. They are so delicate and powerful at the same time. The excellent photos help me know exactly what to look for when I spot one. However, you have given me a new anxiety: I hope never to get my claws caught in a mist net! How upsetting.

    13 May 2008 at 5:26 pm

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