Bird Banding Time

It has been a whirlwind of a week! But lets take it one step at a time, ok?

I headed out to Riverside last weekend to partake in one of my favorite activities ever: BIRD BANDING!

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Can you tell I was a little excited?

I had to drive two hours to get there and although it was hard to get up that early, it was totally worth it.  And no, I did not curl my hair just for the banding…that’s crazy. It was from the day before for work.

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I not only got to hang out with a great friend I hadn’t seen in far too long, but my brother’s girlfriend also came for a little bit and I got to have her hold some of the birds too!

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We ended up catching 12 species by the end of the day, with a total of 166 birds.  I didn’t see some of them, but I got a chance to extract and hold my favorite little birds of all: HUMMINGBIRDS!

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There was a certified hummingbird bander there processing the birds, and you can bet I was at their shoulder with every chance I had.  I have been wanting to band some hummingbirds since I worked alongside another hummingbird bander back in 2009 in Texas…I was insanely jealous this guy was able to do what he was doing.

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I learned a lot of the details about hummingbird identification while you have them in the hand. I have gotten pretty good at ID’ing them by listening to them (although I still find myself confused more often than not, aggh) and by some of their identifying markers when you see them perched/flying/eating, but it’s a whole different ball game when you have them up close.  At this point, you can look at certain tail feathers (like seriously, an individual feather) to determine what species, ages, sex, etc.  It was so exciting and I’ve been diving into my hummingbird books since!

I got to take out quite a few birds and obviously spent most of that time exclaiming and geeking out.  Duh.  Lots of goldfinches, sparrows, wrens, hummingbirds…yay!

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Overall a great banding session (though low in numbers compared to other times where we have caught over 300 birds in that amount of time) and I was happy to have gone. The next one is in March so make sure to look out for more bird photos then! :)

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(Two Red-tailed Hawks flying the skies near the banding site)

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5 Responses to Bird Banding Time

  1. madeline says:

    what a terrific experience… thanks for sharing!

  2. Such a cool experience and great pics!

  3. Erica says:

    This is going to sound funny, but are you afraid they’re going to peck you? I think I’d be terrified!! The hummingbirds are so pretty! Your hair looks so gorg!

    • Melissa says:

      Haha, I used to be terrified of them biting me a few years ago…but now i see it like when you try to pet a cat…you know they’re going to claw you, but won’t kill you. It hurts sometimes, and they are capable of drawing blood…but it gives for good story telling later. :)

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