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

SWAT Station

My Yellow Warbler review

I have been banding birds for 18 years and I would like to start a series on my recapture birds that I have encountered during my banding carrier. The first bird that I would like to share is the Yellow Warbler.

2015/01/img_0281.jpg (more…)

Tess at Swat

Tess and GRCA
Tess and her first live bird!

Just over 100 days old and Tess is already enjoying bird banding! I can’t wait for her to get older and start to explore what nature has to offer her.

Kid Birders at SWAT

Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing

On Friday the 12th of June 2009 we opened the 2nd session of the SWAT MAPS banding station! We captured 14 different species and banded 17 newly banded birds with 16 recaptures (total of 33 individuals). The weather was very cooperative and we had a great steady number of birds being captured in the nets.

First Day of SWAT

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat

On Friday the 29th of May 2009 we opened the SWAT MAPS banding station! We captured 12 different species and banded 22 newly banded birds with 10 recaptures. I wouldn’t have called this a good banding day but turned out better than how we first expected it to turn out like!

Other SWAT banding post!

American Goldfinch by Sarah (aka WheelieGirl)

Over the past few days we have had two blogger reports about their visit to the SWAT Banding Station last Monday. Many have already seen Jennifer’s post on her SWAT visit and the similarities of the Chestnut-sided Warbler and Yellow Warbler (if not go visit her blog now!!).

But I am 99.9% sure you have not had a chance to visit WheelieGirls blog??? Sarah is a wonderful young lady who I have known since she was a little girl and her family has been visiting my banding station since 1999. She’s becoming a stunning photographer (uses a Nikon, High Five) and I just learned last Monday that she has her own Blog! That Monday she did a post on her SWAT visit and you can see some of her pictures that she captured!! Another stunning post that you should check out is her American Robin post . . . . hmmm future nature photographer??? I think so!

Yesterday Birds [Wordless Wednesday]

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


Family Day at SWAT

Group photo
SWAT Group Photo

Today was Family Day at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station with families from Michigan to local families who spent the first weekday of summer together! Of course the best part is that everyone here is a regular visitor to this website!!! {{{HIGH FIVE}}} It wasn’t until I was driving Young Naturalist J home that I realized that the whole “Mon@rch Nature Blog team” was together for the first time and I didn’t take a “team” picture together (big upset for the day)! But the whole team was in the group photo that I managed to get of all the families that visited in . . . . well minus one family who left early and a father who was the photographer.

SWAT and the Thunderstorm

Blackburnian Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler

Yesterday (Tuesday) was our second banding session for the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station. Yesterday was one of the most beautiful mornings with perfect temperatures, little wind and a sunny sky. About 2 hours into banding and I started to hear some grumbling in the background . . . nope not my stomach. That was thunder rumbling in the distance.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler
One of my banded Chestnut-sided Warblers

Had a SWAT banding session scheduled this morning and after 3 hours of banding (with sunshine). . . . the thunderstorms quickly surround me and forced me to close everything up. The final 3 hours of banding will be done tomorrow and I will then do my banding report. Until then . . . . I will share these Chestnut-sided Warbler pictures that I captured on Monday.

SWAT Banding Day 1

magnolia warbler
Magnolia Warbler – photo by Young Naturalist J

Friday morning we had our first day of banding at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station. We were able to band 24 species of birds and 47 newly banded individuals (with 8 recaptured birds). We had many banding assistants helping this session which were very much needed with all these great birds! Thanks again for their help everyone! (more…)

An Interesting Office Visitor

Have you ever been inside Wal-mart or Home Depot with birds flying around the store?? I feel sorry for those birdies and I find myself wondering who’s job it is to get them back outside safely?? Well, you know who gets the call whenever something is flying around the offices in the Administration Building!! I have rescued Chimney Swifts who accidentally fell down the chimney because someone forgot to close the damper. I am the one who saves the Little Brown Bats who accidentally finds there way inside whenever someone leaves a doors or window open due to hot temperatures during the summer. I have even rescued things like a Luna Moths (stuck between the storm windows), Hummingbirds, Meadow Jumping Mouse, Flying Squirrels, Ring-necked Snakes, and a ton of Chipmunks!! But I am rarely called upon during the winter months for unexpected critters that find there way into the offices (well, unless they are mice)!

Black-capped Chickadee
Today’s Black-capped Chickadee.



Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow (most captured species)

I have finally gone through all of my 2007 SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) raw data this week. It has been hard trying to focus on this report with “other” new higher speed internet distractions that I have been having recently. Regarding the SWAT report: we had 6 banding sessions and able to capture a total of 164 different individuals with 34 same year recaptures. We used 8 (12 meter) polyester mist-nets and banded for 6 hours after the official sunrise time. That gave us a total of 198 captures for the station and we were very happy with the excellent year that we had. Even with the need to close the station early due to the Long-tailed Weasel that terrorizing us. We are not sure what we will do with next season (regarding the weasel) but we have all winter to figure something out. (more…)

numbers and letters

data entry

If you don’t see me online for the next few days. . . . I will be going bug eyed entering many numbers and letters into two different databases! This is the part of bird banding that isn’t as much fun as being with the birds. I will try to take some breaks to see what everyone is up to this week!

SWAT Shut Down!

Long-tailed Weasel

Long-tailed Weasel (with eye flash)

I made it official today . . . . the SWAT banding site is closed for the season. After an unwanted visitor showed some continued interest in my birds . . . . I made the decision to shut everything down for the safety of the birds. After discussing this situation with the Institute of Bird Populations, they agreed that my decision to shut down for the season is the best thing to do. (more…)


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.

Unwanted Visitor at the SWAT site!

Juv Downy Woodpecker

A very light colored juvenile Downy Woodpecker

We had a wonderful day banding birds over at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station today. We had a family visit who has been camping here in the park for a very long time, two couples from buffalo make it down, Young Naturalist C (who was the Banding Assistant for the day) and her sister Young Naturalist E visit the banding station. But, you ask, “who was the unwanted visitor??”!! I will get to it . . . . I promise!! (more…)

The Banding Process

handfull of banding equipment

Many of our tools use when banding birds!

Last weekend I handed my camera over to Young Naturalist J to document our banding station for the day. Since this is an off weekend for me, I figured this would be a more than appropriate time to do this post since so many of my die-hard blogging friends have asked for this post. I sure hope this helps give you an idea on what we do at the banding station but do note that all photos (except the last one) were taken by Young Naturalist J! (more…)

Makeup Rain Day – SWAT

Brother and Sister

(Brother and Sister) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Today we had another great day at the SWAT MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding session here in Allegany State Park. This was a rescheduled session after the rained-out day we had last Wednesday. (more…)

Rain, grrr



This morning our SWAT MAPS banding station was scheduled for banding. I woke up with light rain but the weather man said that it wouldn’t rain until 11am. So, onward to the banding station and luckily it did stopped. . . . I decided to open the nets and give some banding a try. An hour into the banding session it started to rain again (uggg). I had just started doing a net check, so I decided to just close all the nets up. Birds were singing up a storm, we had captured a family of Redstarts, a Yellow Warbler, two male Magnolia Warblers and a Gray Catbird. The rain continued for about 45 minutes while I processed the captured birds and I then finally decided to cancel the session (just before the rain stopped). Do I open the nets again or do I keep them closed till Sunday?? Decisions, decisions!!! I figured the nets were close already; I would just reschedule the banding until next Sunday. I then went home to crawled back into bed!!  I had woken up to the sun shining in my window and singing birds outside the window!! Ok, the sun was only out for a few seconds but I just knew at that point that I made the wrong decision in closing early! I hope that my make-up day is full of good birdies!  (BTW: The time of this post would be when I would be closing up my nets.)

So . . . . Happy 4th of July! Now off to a Chicken Barbeque!!

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in Allegany State Park


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

In the 1930’s the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was considered “a regular summer bird of Allegany Park but it is not very common. It occurs regularly about the edges of big timber areas such as the Big Basin and other patches of mature Maple-Beech” (A.A. Saunders. 1942. Summer Birds of the Allegany State Park, NYS Museum Handbook 18). Saunders did not document any nesting pairs of Sapsuckers but did indicate that he saw some fledglings. Baird found the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker had gone from 0 breeding pairs in 1930 up to 282 breeding pairs in the Quaker Run Valley in just over 55 years (T.H. Baird. 1990. Changes in Breeding Bird Populations Between 1930 and 1985 in the Quaker Run Valley of Allegany State Park, NYS Museum Bulletin No. 477). I have also found the Sapsucker to be commonly found (if not the most commonly found woodpecker) here in Allegany State Park. But I have also found that they are more commonly heard moving through the woods than being seen. They are quickly identified by their unevenly drumming song and their cat-like call notes that are very distinctive for this species. (more…)

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!!! (more…)

SWAT Banding and RTPI Group

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Today the Roger Tory Peterson Institute brought a group of people to our SWAT MAPS banding station here in Allegany State Park. This is the same group that I had gone on the Owl walk just last week. (more…)

Opening of the SWAT Station

Catbirds throat

First bird caught at the SWAT station – Gray Catbird!

Today (Wednesday) was the very first day of banding at the SWAT – MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station. I had to reschedule it after a storm had moved through on Monday morning and I felt bad about rescheduling since a few birding friends were willing to help me out with the banding (since I didn’t know how many birds that I would catch). So I ended up banding alone today. Temperatures ranged from 41F to 58F and we did have a very brief shower around 9am. It had been foggy all morning and the sun didn’t peak out until 10:30am.

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YEAH, second banding station ready for operation!

I finally have the second MAPS banding station all set up (well still have a few little things to do)! All just in time for some early Allegany Nature Pilgrimage doings. Today some friends from Boston came over to visit me at the banding station to do a little birding. We had many great birds like Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Blue-winged Warbler, etc.. I should have taken a picture of it but his girls made some cool decorated sticks and boy they had some knee slapping jokes! This weekend will be so much fun seeing so many old friends (that I only see during the Pilgrimage) and guess who is the key speaker?? Bill Thompson III !! I sure hope Zick is able to come along!!

Mon@rch at Work

You must go over to Mary’s View to learn more about this photo being in her blogitat post.