Banding at North Coast Nature

One of my favorite things to do is banding and they had a great demo at the North Coast Nature Festival.

Here is one of my favorite photos of the weekend. That's master bander Tom Bartlett showing a goldfinch to some awestruck kids. Look at that little boy in sunglasses--that look about says it all!

Kids got the chance to release some of the birds after they were banded. This little girl just opened her hand the finch flung himself from the palm of her hand in a split second.

Here's a handsome little chipping sparrow that came into the nets. I have to say, Tom is one of the fastest banders I have ever seen. Birds were banded, measured, weighed and outta there in less than two minutes.

I also really appreciated how patient and enthusiastic he was around the kids. His missioned appeared to go beyond just banding the birds, but sharing their beauty with them. If kids wanted to, they had a chance to touch the birds. Several years ago, I was against this. I thought it was cruel to the bird and wondered why do kids have to touch everything. One day I realized that touch is how to make something real and understandable to a kid, and when done in a respectful manner, is not that stressful to the bird.

Sometimes, there can be issues. This female brown-headed cowbird gave one little boy a good hard nip on the finger with her bill. It stung, but he survived. He was lucky it wasn't a cardinal.

Tom got several woodpeckers in the net that day, including this male downy woodpecker. You can really see all those downy feathers around his bill...and his tiny spear like tongue.

And off he goes. If you'd like a chance to watch Tom in action, he will be banding at Kelleys Island later this month.