Bird Banding: Nets Go Up for Spring

Securing the nets for the season

Securing the nets for the season

One of my most enjoyable activities is banding birds for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  I do this as a sub-permittee under Connecticut Audubon’s permit at the Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary in Fairfield, Connecticut.  Banding studies are used to track migration trends and population changes as well as many other statistical variables affecting our birds.  I love to see the birds close up and to see the faces on the children in the many school groups, when we do our demonstrations during the migration season.

This week we put the nets back up, with our early spring bringing back migrating birds ahead of schedule.  We lugged, hammered and checked the nets for holes to the sounds of early Phoebes, singing their hoarse FEE-Bee calls as we worked.  The next day was foggy but we opened the nets for a little while and were rewarded with the first bird of the season, a robin.  This robin was a returning migrant, probably a nester in our sanctuary as she was already banded.  I looked up the data on her and we had banded her on May 12, 2011 when she was already one year old.  Welcome back, Mrs. Robin and good luck with your nest this year!

Our first bird of the season, all banded and ready to go

Our first bird of the season, all banded and ready to go

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