Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lowry banding 1-15-11

Lowry Nature Center had their monthly banding session this past weekend. We expected to see the usual residents - Black-capped Chickadees, Northern Cardinals and the like. Had some wonderful treats of American Tree Sparrows - anyone reading the blog knows my soft spot for Sparrows. Since it was cold out (read about 10 above), as all responsible bird banders do, we adjusted what we did to make sure the birds were not put at a disadvantage. (Dead birds really wouldn't do much for our pursuit of information about them.) Since feathers were evolved to aid in insulation, if we used nets, it would "ruffle" their feathers, and we didn't want them to lose any of their precious body heat. So - we use Potter traps. These are basically small wire cages with a trap door. We set them on top of feeders. When the bird steps on the little door, the door shuts, not injuring the bird, and we can safely get the birds from inside the traps.

First couple of photos show not only what the traps look like, but just how many customers we had. Chickadees and Sparrow in first one - male and female Cardinal with Sparrow in the second.

The third picture gives you a good look at what the door looks like - if this Chickadee steps on it, his own weight will make it shut.

Can you see the band on the Chickadee's leg? It tells us that this bird was not so unduly traumatized by his banding experience that he doesn't still stay around. You can also see in the enlarged last photo how safe the bands are - there is space between the band and the bird's leg, and obviously not altering his ability to go about his business.

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