Erica extracts a Hermit Thrush from one of the 13 mist nets set up behind Niagara Boat Launch.
Erica places a band on a white-throated sparrow...and then hands it off to Desiree for weighing and measuring.
I was a little rusty when starting out but Desiree is a generous and patient teacher who showed me a little bit more about extracting the birds from the net as well as processing the birds. Sarah, Desiree and Erica have the processing down to, well, a science.
My first extractee this fall, a little downy that was a recapture from September.
Once a bird is captured and the species determined it is banded with an appropriately sized numbered band, aged, sexed, wing measurements are taken and fat status is determined. Then, of course, the bird is set free. Sarah, the lead bander, Desiree and Erica are also collecting ticks from the captured birds. The ticks collected will be used in a research study being conducted by Yale University. The entire process is done as quickly and efficiently as possible as to disturb the birds as little as possible. All of the information gathered is written down in a log book for purposes of later comparison as well as for uploading to a larger data base.
If you've never seen a birds ear before, you can't say that anymore!Erica delicately tweezes a tick from this hermit thrush.Each specimen vial contains ticks from one bird.
Ron Leberman, the Godfather of bird banding at PISP, looks on at the processing.
Ron and his family banded birds for 49 years at PISP. Ron tells wonderful stories about the great numbers of birds that used to frequent the park, including one ten day stretch in which they netted 650 birds!
A frequent visitor and helper at the banding station , Dave, was reluctant to extract a bird from the net, but with Desiree's not-so-subtle persuasion he finally caved and Desiree showed him how it's done!
SUCCESS!!!Banding will continue through the end of October for the fall migration and resume in mid-April 2009 for spring migration. If you live in the area and are interested in observing or volunteering, come on down to the sites. It's definitely a wonderful and rewarding learning experience.