Bird Banding at Arthur Slough near St. Cloud
October 19, 2015
Thrilled to be included in a bird banding session with friends Cathy and Stuart, we arrived at St. Cloud Recreation Area at dawn.
We trudged out to the Columbia River, then followed the Arthur Slough back in a little way as the sun came up on an early October morning.
It was difficult for me to keep up with them because the scenery was so gorgeous, I must have stopped for a photo-op every ten steps.
Fall had arrived on this part of the planet and I was soaking it all in.
When we arrived at the banding station, Cathy and Stuart set up nets to capture birds, then as we waited for birds they unpacked their tools.
The sized-to-fit metal bands fit various sized birds and have numbers stamped on them. The information is recorded as each bird gets banded.
While waiting for birds we go check out the shoreline of the Columbia River to see what’s been around by checking tracks in the mud.
I was so excited to see bear tracks in the mud and secretly hoped one might come out to say hello to us. Yes, trust me I’d keep a safe distance!
Back to banding…. Birds fly into a net then drop unharmed into netted pockets. An Orange-crowned Warbler was one of our first to capture.
A Song Sparrow is carefully and gently freed from the net and brought back to the banding station.
Held ever so gently at the neck a Brown Creeper is quite compliant while being banded, measured, weighed and examined for health and age.
Wings are spread to see patterning on a Brown Creeper. I love these little birds.
Wings get measured on an Orange-crowned Warbler.
Stuart examines the Kinglet’s wings to determine age and wear.
Checking tail feathers.
To help judge age, the head feathers are moistened with water then gently parted to reveal the scalp.
Cathy and Stuart use Sibley’s Guide for confirmation of aging and further identifying.
Sweet little Song Sparrow, finished with his exam and awaiting release.
I didn’t quite click in time as he flew away down by the slough.
Chickadees tend to take a bite now and again during the banding and exam.
He settles down and allows the process.
Black-capped Chickadee receives a wing exam.
The band is gently clinched closed after being placed on the Orange-crowned Warbler’s leg.
A ‘bracelet’ is placed on a Spotted Towhee.
Blowing on the Chickadee’s belly, reveals body fat under his feathers.
Same with the Spotted Towhee. His eye will turn more red as he matures.
Another release….another miss with my trigger finger!
I’m fascinated with the Golden-crowned Kinglet ~ isn’t he gorgeous?!
We checked the nets every 20 to 30 minutes and between checked area flora.
I will try to come back and edit with correct names.
No promises though, it’s been a busy season and I have many more adventures to tell you about.
Back at the parking lot we noticed a tree full of Cedar Waxwings!
We also saw a flock of Bushtits! My first sighting of these sweet little birds!!
My last & luckiest shot of the day was a female Varied Thrush dressed for fall.