My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bird Banding Day

August 11, 2016

Moosehorn NWR takes part in the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship MAPS project. Click on the link to learn lots more about it. Basically it involves trapping birds in various habitats and then banding them as well as measuring the wing length and finding their weight.  They are also sexed and aged, if possible. The information gathered tells about the success of the various species and gives information of what habitat is preferred by each species.

I am also planting milkweed every hour I don't have something else to do, or as long as I can stand to work.  Kirsten didn't think they would have many birds before nine and told me to come out then.  So I planted milkweed from five-thirty to eight-thirty and then drove out to the capture site. The team had just returned from removing birds from the ten nets that are set up in two different ages of woods.  One was last cut in 1989,  I think, and the other was cut in 2009. The team had just caught the most birds ever trapped at once - I think it was over thirty birds.

So I got to observe how the birds were handled and then got to release them.  I also walked out through a rough, rocky trail to check the nets for the last time and then to take them down.

One of the most exciting things to the bird survey team which consisted of permanent staff, temporary staff, interns, and volunteers, was the capture of several Canada warblers, which is a bird of concern in this area.

At first glance, it looks like chaos

Megan is the data recorder for up to three birds at once

Mike is putting a band on a black-capped chickadee - Maine's state bird

Kirsten is aging a Canada warbler by looking at it's wing feathers

Kirsten measuring a wing

Kirsten blowing feathers to see if fat is around the cloaca and if the bird has a brood patch

The birds are gently put into the weighing tubes head first after the tubes are tared

This red-eyed vireo chewed on Kirsten's fingers while she gathered it's data. 

I think they finally decided the bird was a Nashville warbler 

Another view of the mystery bird 

This was another hard bird - it was finally called a song sparrow
but it didn't have all the normal field marks

I took this picture while keeping tension on the other end of the net - while it was still on its pole. 

And since I seldom get pictures of birds, I was excited to see a yard visitor the following day.  This is a hen wild turkey.  She has repeatedly appeared at different places around the refuge.  I suspect she may have lost all her brood.

I'll be joining Wild Bird Wednesday. Click on the picture below to read many more interesting blogs about birds from around the world.