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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bird Banding - A Personal Account

Chris Southwick - Recording BC Chickadee
Chris Southwick is a local expert and bird banding volunteer. 
Junco is banded and recorded in the birdbook
ph credit - Chris Southwick
© Neil D. Scott
Hairy Woodpecker- Cornell Lab
Townsends Warbler - photo credit Linda Stein

She is implementing "citizen bird science" in her own backyard. She can do this project because of her expert knowledge and a special permit from USGS (United States Geological Survey).  This project is also part of the SSEA Shoreline Community Backyard Habitat Project. It is meant to determine the habits of local bird populations.
Wilsons Warbler - ph credit Chris Southwick

She is a board member of the Puget Sound Bird Observatory and participant in Sustainable Shoreline Education Association's Shoreline Community Backyard Wildlife Project, and WOWTA Tour.

This last weekend was the Great Backyard Bird Count, a nationwide project to count as many birds as possible by volunteers and millions of birds were counted.

If you're wondering about how the birds stay warm enough in this icy weather, Chris has a little advice to help them. 
 I put out extra suet, a hand warmer on the hummingbird feeder, and scattered some extra seed on the ground for the ground feeders.
Sunday Banding -
Last Sunday banding was at Site#1--CHSO.  The day was dry and still and started out at 30 degrees.  We had to wait about 40 minutes until it became warm enough to band; then we only opened two nets for another hour. Then we opened the third one. We kept a very close watch on the nets all day, and no bird stayed in the nets longer than five minutes.  That means we probably scared some away--we never did get any Spotted Towhees [SPTO's], and only two Song Sparrow [SOSP's].

But, we bagged some really neat birds!  We caught a Second Year [SY] 
Hairy Woodpecker [HAWO]--Ben  has the scars to prove it.  A gorgeous male Townsend's Warbler[TOWA], a Pine Siskin [PISI], and two Yellow Rumped Warblers,[YRWA] Audubon, one a male, rounded out the extra good birds.
Total:  42 birds!

29 new:

"Mist Nets" erected temporarily to capture
birds for banding. The birds are only
held for a few minutes and then released.
        6 Black-capped Chickadees [BCCH]
        2 Chestnut-backed Chickadees [CBCH]
Bewick's Wren [BEWR]
      14 Oregon Juncos's [ORJU]
Red-breasted Nuthatch [RBNU]
        1 SOSP
        1 TOWA
        1 HAWO
        2 YRWA

13 recaps
        6 BCCH
        3 CBCH
        1 BEWR (twice)
        1 ORJU
        1 SOSP
        1 RBNU

Not bad!  and Mary took some pictures that I'll share when she sends them to me.

Thanks for the help from the volunteers:
Ben Vang-Johnson, Jason Minne, Mark Colombino, Mary Huff, and 
Susan Ford.
I thought we worked well together.

We also had two copies of the Tabulated Pyle.  I know I really like using it!  Now I don't have to use my "cheat-sheet" note cards.  The Tabular Pyle really lays out the comparisons in such easily and quickly read columns.

Christine Southwick

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