Turning A Corner With Banding

Wednesday was a glorious 70 degree day and just a fun morning of banding--I'm finally getting my footing with getting birds out of the net. We got in quite a few white-throated sparrows like the bird above.

KARE 11 came back to film a few more shots for the bird segment they are working on. Jim Fitzpatrick is getting interviewed above. And once again, as I was trying to get a bird out of the net I heard, "Hey, hold still, we're coming over to film that!" Happily, there was no panic attack like last week. I ended up doing it twice and I really feel like a turned a corner in my learning process. I have to admit that after last week, I was questioning whether or not I should keep going--but thanks to some extra practice last Sunday and the patience and teaching of some of the other banders at Carpenter I feel like I'm back on track with little birds. The only thing I worry about is that I don't dress for tv when I'm banding at Carpenter, I tend to dress for comfort--ah well.

The most interesting bird that we got on Wednesday was the last bird in the traps--a junco (quite possibly the last junco I will band this spring). When I was taking it out of the bag, I could see that it had a pink rump. Closer inspection revealed that they were not pink feathers:

The bird was missing a large patch of feathers on its rump. It must have happened a couple of weeks ago, pin feathers are already growing above the tail. You could also see that in the middle of the pink skin was a healed over puncture wound. Something had attacked this junco and it survived! And it was still strong enough to migrate! At this point, the juncos we are getting at Carpenter are ones that spent the winter further south like in Missouri or Texas. Somewhere along the way, something tried to eat it. We made a note about the wound and it will be interesting to see if the junco is retrapped and how long it survives.


Here's a photo pointing out the growing feathers and the scabbed over wound. You can also see the uropygial gland also called the preen gland. They squeeze this gland and oil comes out that is used when preening. I wonder if this wound is from a shrike? Shrikes kill with their beaks? It could also have been a sharp-shinned talon too. I don't think it's from a cat, small animals usually don't survive that. Cats have a bacteria called Pasteurella that will infect the bite or claw wound and kill the small animal within a few days.

So many things learned at banding.