Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MAPS bird banding training update

Yellow-breasted Chat

Today is the fourth day of my training for the MAPS bird banding program! I got here on Thursday but it seems like I have been here much longer. There have been so many neat birds already! We are way down in South Texas and we are just at the Northern tip of the ranges of some cool Southern species. One of which is the Green Jay, which is one of the most brilliantly colored birds around here. Not to mention there are also Painted buntings here.. they have a larger range in the USA but I had never seen one until this week! AND I got to hold one.

Green Jay, I hope we get to band one!

The Painted Bunting and Me

Training has been good so far and we are all getting used to waking up around 5:30am. I have been banding for a few years now but I'm still learning a lot, especially about how to properly age a bird. Of course there is still a lot more to learn, it is definitely something that takes time and patience and a lot of practice.

Along with the Painted Bunting and the Green Jay, I have seen so many species that are completely new to me. Some of them we even got to band. Today some of my favorites were the Olive Sparrow and the Worm-eating Warbler.

Yesterday, our first bird out of the net was this fabulous Blue Grosbeak:

We have been getting a lot of migrants flying through Texas, such as the Worm-eating Warbler I mentioned and the Mourning Warbler pictured below.

But our most common species are the Texan residents such as this White-eyed Vireo:

The bird pictured at the top of this update is a Yellow-breasted Chat. They have been the most popular bird in our nets and we have already recaptured several that we already banded. But once again, another new bird for my bird list.
Right now our internet use is pretty limited, but hopefully I will get to update again sometime soon!

Northern Waterthrush - another migrating warbler

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm spending the summer in Texas!

So... lately I've been preparing to spend my entire summer bird banding in Texas. And, I leave tomorrow! I'm interning with the Monitoring Avian Productivity & Survivorship program (MAPS) through the Institute of Bird Populations: http://www.birdpop.org/

I am so excited! I will be there for about four months, starting with a two week intensive training program where we learn all there is to know about Texan birds. Then we split up into groups to band at one of four locations in Texas or Missouri. I've been banding for awhile but I've never done anything quite like this. It should definitely be an adventure. Also-- I've never been to Texas before so I can't wait to explore a new place and see some cool new birds! My internship doesn't start until April 23rd, but I will try to report back soon as soon as possible, hopefully with some great photos of birds!

Birdy art featured above: Turkey Vulture

Wood Thrush