Bird Banding – An Experience to Remember

Ah, the desire to see birds up close and personal.  If you have never been to a bird banding, if you ever get a chance to see one, don’t walk, but run (quietly).  It is an awesome chance to see these beautiful birds like you have never seen them before.  The Concho Valley Birdbanders visit various bird areas, and people are most welcome to visit and observe.  Visit their link above to read more about them and their goals to report on the movement and behavior of birds around the state of Texas.

Upon arriving, they erect mist nets; very fine nets that are strung across poles in areas where birds are know to fly.  The birds fly into the nets, are then captured by hand and taken to the area where the banding is actually done.  The birds are unharmed, but some do enjoy scolding the banders as they go about their business.  It might be added that the mist nets are nearly invisible.  The material is so fine that I have walked right into a net before I realized it; like walking into a spider web.

Bander Charles Floyd running the nets.

White-eyed Vireo in mist net.

The banders record the date of capture, sex, age, species, health condition, and any other pertinent data.  They then attach a very tiny, light, metallic band with a number corresponding to such report, around the leg, then released.  Before such release,they usually hold the birds in their fingers for a minute or two, to give an opportunity for any photographers to get close-ups.

Painted Bunting

Indigo Bunting

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Wilson’s Warbler

Needless to say, it is a very educational experience.  An addendum:  I do not, for my personal albums or other professional use, ever photograph birds that are captured, set up, in zoos, or baited.  These photos were taken strictly for an article about this banding group.  This banding was done at the Hummer House Nature Retreat, in Christoval, Texas, on April 23, 2011.  Click on any of the images to see enlargements.

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