I think this photo caught with my WingScapes Cam kind of sums of the hodgepodge of the last few days. Check out the red-bellied woodpecker, black-capped chickadee, and female purple finch posing on the feeder (never mind that there are 6 other feeders). Note that the chickadee is sporting a band--that means that my buddies Mark and Roger have been around and it was time for their bi-annual banding at Mr. Neil's. And we got in a ton of birds--so many that I barely had time to take a photo, we got over 50 birds in the nets. We pretty much would put up the nets and in fifteen minutes later they would have to be furled so we could process what we had.
One of the interesting birds what this white-breasted nuthatch who was missing two claws on one foot. Many birds would be able to survive this just fine--but nuthatches use those toes constantly to go down trees. She was a hatch year bird (hatched this summer) so it will be interesting to see if she sticks around and survives awhile--will she ever be a recapture?
Roger obliged and Mark said, "Huh, not our band number."
We had this happen once before and let me tell you--getting a foreign recapture once is like winning a million bucks in the lottery. Getting that twice, is--well it's just a big fat HOLY COW! Now, the last time this happened, it was a female goldfinch who had been banded four years earlier in Illinois (over 450 miles away). Now, here is where this recapture gets really freaky--we trapped this second bird in the same net as the other recapture and we caught her in the fall too. If this bird ends up being from Illinois too--what kind of crazy reverse goldfinch movement is going on? I have turned in the goldfinch's band number to the Bird Banding Lab...now I have to wait to hear from the original bander.
We had a special guest around the banding. If you are hip to the Internet Geek Music scene, you might recognize the bearded fellow releasing a nuthatch above--it's Jonathan Coulton. If you are new to him might I suggest his listening primer and check out the top four songs. Skullcrusher Mountain is a favorite of mine (although I do find myself humming Tom Cruise Crazy quite a bit).
Also around were Paul and Storm of the comedic musical duo...Paul and Storm. If you listen to Bob and Tom, you might be familiar with some of their songs and their alternate band name of the BarryTones (they use the power of barbershop to do things like a rap medley). Check out the songs Count to Ten, Your Town, or The Captain's Wife's Lament.
They recorded a podcast in Mr. Neil's sauna and Non Birding Bill and I got to participate. It's about a half hour long and there are a few four letter words flung around so not the safest for work. Also, some in the podcast are more tipsy than other. The boys tell some funny drunk stories and towards the end, you get a peak into the dynamic of my marriage to NBB. And, Mom, if you are reading this...skip to minute 18:00.