Winter banding begins in earnest

Ethan displays a Tufted Titmouse to workshop attendees
at the Clinton MDC office. 

By Dana Ripper

A Carolina Chickadee;
photo from Kathy Freeze.

Last weekend we went on a big road trip to kick off Backyard Banding season.  We had excellent opportunities to band with folks from Jeff City, Clinton, Rolla, and Licking.  In Jefferson City, we banded at the Birds-I-View store on Ellis Boulevard with friends Steve and Regina Garr.  They were having their annual open house, and the store was hopping!  Many of the customers wandered out to view our banding demonstrations.
On Saturday in Clinton, we had a very fun public workshop with 18 attendees who heard a presentation on ID’ing winter birds, made bird feeders, and watched a banding demonstration in which we caught a good diversity of residents.  In Licking, we banded at the home of our Purple Martin landlord, Kathy Freeze.  Wind thwarted us a little bit, but nonetheless we caught 11 of her frequent feeder-visitors for which she has already reported some re-sightings.

Below, our host in Rolla writes about the events there.

By Pat Perry

Sunday was wonderful day weatherwise and 8 Master Naturalists gathered to watch Dana Ripper and Ethan Duke pull birds from the mist nets and band them. The nets were stretched at 9:45 am and we started getting birds just after 10:00. The first bird to get banded was a White-breasted Nuthatch. Dana took time to explain the measurements she was taking of the bird’s wings, beak length, leg length and weight. She checked the feathers to determine the age of the bird and blew on the chest feathers to check fat. Manuals were consulted when it was harder to determine the age based on the feathers. Ethan meanwhile was pulling birds from the nets.

We were all surprised when a Sharp-shinned Hawk came hunting at the feeders and were thrilled when he got tangled in the net. All in all, they banded 38 birds and had one re-capture of a female downy woodpecker that had been banded here a year and a half ago by two Canadian researchers. The species banded included White-breasted nuthatch, Junco, Carolina Chickadee, Black-capped Chickadee, Downy

Some of our Rolla group with a Sharp-shinned Hawk. 

 woodpecker (9 -all of which were females!), Tufted titmouse, American Goldfinch, Purple finch and sharp-shinned Hawk. A Truly successful day!

Dana and Ethan hope to come back in January because there were several bird species that we didn’t capture. They also would be interested in banding at another site locally if anyone is feeding birds and watching them. One requirement is that you not have outside cats.

They hadn’t had enough birding during the day so we put up nets in the woods looking for Northern saw-whet owls. The nets went up at 5:30 pm and we checked them every 40 minutes after that. We were thrilled when we actually caught two that evening. Ethan says they are the first ones banded this far south in Missouri – a record!

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