Stopped in to watch the Friday morning banding at Carpenter Nature Center this morning. I haven't been able to go for a few weeks and I was glad to hang with the guys again. I was able to get two birds with one stone (so to speak) since I took the Wingscapes Camera with me to test out. For the moment, those photos go on their blog.
It started out as a slow morning. It was about ten degrees but we didn't have any snow. With it being that cold, we didn't put up any nets, but set out potters traps.
A squirrel managed to find its way into one of the traps. Ooops! It was very perplexed and alarmed--as were the banders. Some birds can be a little nippy when they are in the hand, imagine what a squirrel can do. Larry got a stick and opened the trap and the squirrel scampered to freedom unbanded.
We did get in quite a few black-capped chickadees. One very exciting bird already had a band and turned out to have been banded in 2002! This tiny guy lasting close to five years in the wild--amazing. By the way, is it me or does this bird's bill look a little big for a chickadee? I can't tell if I'm getting overly paranoid about birds with overgrown bills or if it's normal.
Juncoes were busting out all over. I love dark-eyed juncos, they kind of remind me of little penguins. Something interesting at Carpenter is that they bait all of their traps with black oil sunflower seeds and the juncos still go in. Working at a bird store and with personal experience, I have always found these guys love white millet, sunflower hearts and Nyjer and not black oilers. I wonder if they are actually cracking open the sunflower or if they see seed and just check it out?
There was a minor junco tragedy. When the guys went out to check all the traps, a sharp-shinned hawk was flushed and left behind a freshly killed junco. The bird was banded, so this was one of the few times when a dead bird could be fully documented we have an idea of where its life ended and how old it was. I think this bird was in its second year. Don't worry raptor enthusiasts, the dead junco was put back outside and the sharpie did return for it.