to our Nature Walk Leaders for these reports on our May Nature Walks!
Carroll Audubon Sanctuary - May 10, 2014
On May 10, more than 20 visitors came to the Audrey Carroll Sanctuary
to see our annual demonstration of bird banding. Weather had
threatened, but by good fortune the skies cleared at exactly the right
time for a few hours that Saturday morning, and the demonstration could
Poles and mist
nets had been set up on Thursday and Friday, and the banders arrived at
the sanctuary at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday to open the nets.
Things were very
slow at first, but by 8 a.m. when the visitors arrived, the action
picked up. The most spectacular bird, one which was recognized by many,
was a male Baltimore Oriole. Cameras clicked furiously as the bird's
wing was spread to show the brilliant colors.
Each bird that
was captured received a numbered band, and after recording the time,
date and location of capture as well as the bird's sex and age (when it
could be determined), the bird was released unharmed.
Marylanders can recognize a male Baltimore Oriole, a female with its
less bright plumage was less familiar. And several of the birds
captured were species which most people have not even heard of: these
included several White-eyed Vireos and a Canada Warbler. The latter was
an especially beautiful subject for everything from Nikons to smart
Birds banded during the morning were:
4 Carolina Chickadees
4 Common Yellowthroats
1 Canada Warbler
1 House Wren
1 Traill's Flycatcher
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Cedar Waxwing
1 Swainson's Thrush
1 Orchard Oriole
2 Baltimore Orioles
9 Gray Catbirds
6 Northern Cardinals
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was caught in the nets but released
unbanded (a special permit is required for banding Hummingbirds).
Five birds were caught that already had bands: A Gray Catbird and a
White-eyed Vireo which had been banded earlier in the day, a Field
Sparrow and a White-eyed Vireo which had been banded in May of 2013,
and a Common Yellowthroat which had been banded in 2012. It was a
source of inspiration to find these birds which had returned to their
home at Audrey Carroll after their long migrations.
The bands were applied to the birds by John Weske, who provided a
fascinating narration of subjects such as how the age and sex of the
birds are determined, and the migration patterns of the different
species. Several children present were especially thrilled at such
close looks at the birds.
Karin Wuertz-Schaefer was kept running extracting the captured birds
from the widely-dispersed nets, and Tom Humphrey also participated in
this and told some amusing stories of his experiences banding raptors.
Bob Schaefer recorded the data and Mark Kulis helped with logistics,
especially with the take-down of the nets which was really appreciated
after a long and tiring morning.
But of course things could have been even better! Birds heard or seen
during the morning but not captured included:
1 Great Blue Heron, 1 Barred Owl, several Wild Turkeys, 2 Yellow-billed
Cuckoos, 1 Black-billed Cuckoo, 2+ Eastern Towhees, 2 Prairie Warblers,
several Eastern Bluebirds, several Tree Swallows, 1 Red-eyed Vireo, to
name but a few.
Bob Schaefer, Walk Organizer and Leader