We visited a local nature center today for a wonderful up close opportunity to observe bird banding. I saw a note in a parenting magazine that mentioned that today was bird banding day. Since we are studying birds for school, I thought I would take a chance and take the kids to this nature center and investigate bird banding. You never know when you chase this kind of activity down...not sure if it is worth the drive and the sacrifice of your "typical" school day. Well...this day was well worth the drive. It was one of our best school days ever. A day that the kids will not forget for a long time.
When we first got to the nature center we found a carolina wren nest with 3 baby birds in it. We also found a snake that was interested in these birds as a meal. No worries...the snaked moved on and let them be.
When we got to the park, we first learned about how the naturalists catch the birds in different traps. Today they were using the mist net trap.This park has a great bird viewing area with different feeders that attract different kinds of birds. We saw american goldfinches, wood peckers and even chipmunks at the feeders.
The park was full of school groups and we were able to listen in on what they were learning at the banding table. The naturalists let us follow them to the traps and look for birds. Here they are getting a bird out of the net.
After taking the bird back to the table they first weigh the bird and start to record their findings. The bird is in a mesh bag while they weigh it.
The next step is to look to see if the bird has been banded before. They are hoping to find birds that have bands. It helps with the research to find banded birds again. Different size birds use different bands. Here they are measuring the birds wing. This helps determine the age of the bird and the sex of the bird.
This is also when they are recording the specific coloring. Here is a female cardinal. The top picture is a white throated sparrow. While we were there they trapped 7 of these.Notice all the different bans on the table (they look like necklaces). This day they banded about 10-15 different kinds of birds, plus trapped many more birds that already had bands.
After all their info is gathered they let the bird go. Tristen was able release a red eyed vireo bird.We finally started nature journals and brought them and recorded some great info. We listed all the birds they banded that day along with lots of different things the girls learned. This was a great nature center (different post...different time). I am so glad we took the chance to check it out.