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Old May 27th, 2011, 09:36 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Banding March birds at Hazel Run

I just realized I never posted the pics of the banding session we had here at the end of March. Thought it might interest those of you who'd never seen it done.

As a fundraiser at a local nature center (Beaver Creek Reserve out of Fall Creek), the bird banding crew auctioned off a session at a private residence. Winner got to choose the date and location for the banding. hazel had the high bid!

Although the Main Event was to be in May, the crew came out at the end of March for a trial run. The hundreds of goldfinches we were hosting at the time didn't cooperate, but it was useful as a way to figure out net placement and where to set up the recording station for the Main Event.

The mist nets were strung outside the fence in close proximity to the feeders. We have an exposed basement, so we set up tables in the basement, an easy 50-ft walk to the nets and feeders.

Name:  Setting up 3-30-11.jpg
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Every bander has a preferred tool used as an aid in removing birds from mist nets. Karen, for example, used crochet hooks! In the background you can see the strings of bands set up according to size. Bird species are grouped by size and each has a particular size of band that is used.

If looks could kill, this black-capped chickadee would have had us dead and buried.

Name:  If looks could kill 3-30-11.jpg
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About to leave, unscathed and with some new jewelry:

Name:  Freshly banded chickadee 3-30-11.jpg
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Old May 27th, 2011, 09:42 AM
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A purple finch waits patiently in the net while Augie removes another nearby.

Name:  Waiting patiently 3-30-11 A.jpg
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I learned something new about purple finches. Birds less than two years of age all look like females!! It isn't until their second spring (at the beginning of their third year since they're hatched in late spring) that the males begin putting on that raspberry coloration. So this bird is aged as "after second year" since he's already got that bright pink:

Name:  Handsome ASY male purple finch 3-30-11.jpg
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While this one could be either a female or a male in its first or second year:

Name:  Purple finch--either a first spring male or a Ms 3-30-11.jpg
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"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

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Old May 27th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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A female hairy woodpecker about to be released after banding. Notice the absence of the red patch on the back of the head.

Name:  Ms Hairy 3-30-11 A.jpg
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This one clearly shows red, so it's a male. It's not typical, though, in that the red is in two patches. Normally, there would be a single bigger patch.

Name:  Mr Hairy on the offensive 3-30-11.jpg
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Hairy woodpeckers are really quite pugnacious. They know how to use those bills. Releasing these guys is always a relief--notice the bloody fingers

Name:  Mr Hairy on the way out 3-30-11.jpg
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"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

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Old May 27th, 2011, 09:57 AM
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The mist nets are so fine that most birds don't see them before they hit them. There are also pockets that run the length of the nets and the birds often fall into them. Sometimes some feathers get rumpled, but a little preening will fix that.

Here an American goldfinch male (already getting yellow and putting on his dark cap) hangs in the net, probably trying to figure out what just happened.

Name:  Waiting goldfinch 3-30-11.jpg
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The bird is carefully extracted from the nets. The banders always do this part bare-handed so they can always monitor exactly how firmly they're holding the birds. This is one way they prevent injury to them.

Name:  Careful extraction from the mist net 3-30-11.jpg
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Once free of the nets, the birds are placed in cotton sacks until it's time to collect the data.

Name:  A downy about to be bagged 3-30-11.jpg
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Typically, it only takes at most a handful of minutes between the bird hitting the net and the release after processing.
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"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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Old May 27th, 2011, 10:00 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Here's a shot of Karen using her trusty crochet hook to safely untangle a black-capped chickadee from a net:
Name:  Karen removing a chickadee from the net 3-30-11.jpg
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Our one and only mourning dove for the day. Mourning doves are a bit large for the nets used--normally they just bounce off or are able to free themselves. So this one was a bonus.
Name:  Mourning dove 3-30-11 B.jpg
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A slate-colored junco about to be released:
Name:  Junco, about to be released 3-30-11 A.jpg
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__________________
"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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Old May 27th, 2011, 10:03 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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The third member of the crew out that day, Dan, extracts a bird from the nets:
Name:  Dan recovers a bird 3-30-11.jpg
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One of the white-breasted nuthatches banded that morning:
Name:  White-breasted nuthatch 3-30-11 B.jpg
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And finally, time to take the nets down and call it a day.
Name:  Augie and Dan taking down the nets 3-30-11.jpg
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__________________
"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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  #7  
Old May 27th, 2011, 10:01 AM
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Melinda Melinda is offline
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wow...our duck banding is nothing like that!! thats truly amazing Hazel.
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