Here is our Yellow Warbler from last post to tell us why birds are in the hand.
I have been involved in birding by joining the Buffalo Ornithological Society and attending the Buffalo Audubon Society events. Recently, the Audubon Society had a bird-banding seminar at their Beaver Meadows headquarters. I have seen bird-banding before, but not how they capture them.
Yellow Bird here. “I can tell you this is not pleasant for me. See what I and all my friends went through, all for the humans to get some data. Just take a look at some of the expressions on the faces of my buddies. If looks could kill…”
Both the BOS and the Buffalo Audubon have great learning experiences and nature walks. The kids especially love the up-close and personal look at nature.
Here we have a variety of Warblers getting caught and banded. Other birds as well, but the Warblers were new to me. Now I can recognize some of the Warblers since they don’t visit my garden. I do have a few posts coming up on birds that never visited before, so I guess a Warbler could pop in.
There is not much to explain that is not obvious by the images, but I will be brief. If you get a chance to see bird-banding, take the opportunity. It is interesting in how and why they do the inspections. So let’s look at the process…
It starts with catching birds. In this poorly photographed iPhone image (because it started raining and the big camera went to my dry Jeep), numerous barely visible nets are set up along a 20 minute nature trail to snag the flying birds. I could not get a good photo also because we were instructed not get too close to avoid stressing the captured bird. They fight for freedom like the Chickadee below and care must be taken so they are not injured.
The trail is walked each hour to collect birds in soft sacks to bring back to the demonstration. I took a nature walk with one of the naturalists and he called in that birds were caught at net 7. Different handlers do different jobs. Only certain workers are permitted to free from the net or even handle a bird, yet I believe most of them could do each others jobs. There are just certain regulations governing and certificates held by each.
So back at the demonstration, the process began to ID, inspect, band, sex, and record each bird. Let’s look at a young robin.
Attaching the band.
Measuring the leg growth length.
Measuring the Wing size.
All done and ready for release.
Off you go now please.
Not every bird is happy and looks to get revenge. Yes, some do peck at or try to take a chunk out of the handler.
Some just can’t wait to escape.
“Hey, what do you expect? This is a real indignity getting stuffed in a bag and weighed by these guys”, loudly squawks Yellow Bird.
“Look at ’em, I have to say though, they are pretty gentle.”
“I am not so sure Yellow bird. These guys really had me topsy turvy.”
“Me too, and it is my second time.”
This poor Chestnut-sided Warbler got snagged twice in one day. Oh the luck of some birds. It gets a second inspection to make sure it suffered no injury during netting.
Now you know why it is grumpy.
Next two posts, I show you how I get my photos when the light is less than optimal. Then, some shots of the marsh birds, and a few gardens from Garden Walk Buffalo. So many posts just waiting for their turn.