I was helping a friend with a bird banding project yesterday morning and I thought you might enjoy a few photos. We were out from just at dawn to nearly noon (more than four hours) and the temperature was just above freezing, with a heavy mist.
Naturally, I was wearing shorts and trainers that were rapidly soaked through, so instead of composing a clever blog post, I spent the walk back daydreaming about putting a heat pack in the microwave and the various places on my body I would subsequently put it (feet, mostly).
So here are is a whole heap of photos and anecdotes, without much of a story.
This AMRO (American Robin, Turdus migratorius) was already banded, which is sufficiently rare to be notable.
My aren't you a handsome fellow?
We blow on their feathers to see how fat they are after the winter.
It is her first time banding.
We caught a whole flock of WHSP (White Throated Sparrows, Zonotrichia albicollis), this one is pretty plain, but some are gorgeous.
Same species, showing colour variation. They are very sweet.
Measuring wing length.
I've never seen anyone weigh a bird this way. It doesn't hurt them, but it is a little undignified.
Unfortunately for us, we caught a lot of NOCAs (Northern Cardinals, Cardinalis cardinalis). They are fiery rangas!
Owww...I also have quite a few bite marks and blisters from their bites yesterday.
Another new bander, this one is brave.
Sometimes we give the cardinals a stick to bite onto while we're working.
Lady cardinals don't seem to be as aggro...
Another lady cardinal, although a male would match this ranga's beard better!
A lovely SOSP (Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia) is a nice break after the cardinals.
She is very calm.
A nice bird to start on for one of our youngest banders.
Our most exciting bird of the day! A HETH (Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus). Just look at those big brown eyes.
Mr. Thrush, are you a second year bird? Looking for buffy coverts.
A stereotypical Hermit Thrush pose, with cocked tail.
Last bird of the day was a White Throated Sparrow and you can see how red my hands are! I was fumbling with bands by this point.