Bird Banding at Arthur Slough near St. Cloud

October 19, 2015

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Thrilled to be included in a bird banding session with friends Cathy and Stuart, we arrived at St. Cloud Recreation Area at dawn.

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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.
3aSteider Studios.Banding.10.9.15-5It 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.

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Fall had arrived on this part of the planet and I was soaking it all in.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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A Song Sparrow is carefully and gently freed from the net and brought back to the banding station.

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Held ever so gently at the neck a Brown Creeper is quite compliant while being banded, measured, weighed and examined for health and age.

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Wings are spread to see patterning on a Brown Creeper.  I love these little birds.

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Wings get measured on an Orange-crowned Warbler.

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Stuart examines the Kinglet’s wings to determine age and wear.

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Checking tail feathers.

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To help judge age, the head feathers are moistened with water then gently parted to reveal the scalp.

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Cathy and Stuart use Sibley’s Guide for confirmation of aging and further identifying.

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Sweet little Song Sparrow, finished with his exam and awaiting release.

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I didn’t quite click in time as he flew away down by the slough.

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Chickadees tend to take a bite now and again during the banding and exam.

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He settles down and allows the process.

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Black-capped Chickadee receives a wing exam.

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The band is gently clinched closed after being placed on the Orange-crowned Warbler’s leg.

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A ‘bracelet’ is placed on a Spotted Towhee.

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Blowing on the Chickadee’s belly, reveals body fat under his feathers.

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Same with the Spotted Towhee.  His eye will turn more red as he matures.

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Another release….another miss with my trigger finger!

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I’m fascinated with the Golden-crowned Kinglet ~ isn’t he gorgeous?!

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We checked the nets every 20 to 30 minutes and between checked area flora.

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I will try to come back and edit with correct names.

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No promises though, it’s been a busy season and I have many more adventures to tell you about.

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Back at the parking lot we noticed a tree full of Cedar Waxwings!

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We also saw a flock of Bushtits!  My first sighting of these sweet little birds!!

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My last & luckiest shot of the day was a female Varied Thrush dressed for fall.

12 Responses to “Bird Banding at Arthur Slough near St. Cloud”

  1. Marina Vrouvlianis Says:

    what delightful pictures! I can almost feel how gently the birds were handled (I used to have lots of parakeets that I held)…. However, had I seen bear tracks, I would have hightailed it out of there! I am not as brave as you!!!


  2. Sue Smith Says:

    Linda! That was splendid. Your fantastic tutorial like photos made me feel like I was there. So interesting to me as I have always loved wild birds. Thank you for giving us Nature at it’s Finest here in our gorgeous PNW.


  3. Thanks Marina, yes the birds were held very gently from netting to release. The bear tracks were a bonus & generally the black bears we have in the NW don’t want to run into humans so unless we threaten them or somehow get between them & their food or young they’ll run away.


  4. Thanks so much Sue, that is indeed one of my end goals ~ to show people how wonderful Nature is.


  5. Coral Says:

    Truly beautiful amazing photos close enough for those seeing them can relate to your narratives Linda…thank you once again for the beauty through your eyes..


  6. Thank you Coral!


  7. Pat Wittmann Says:

    I so enjoyed following this process for bird banding. Fascinating! And as someone else mentioned, I felt how gently the birds were handled and each photo is just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.


  8. Thank you for sharing. So informative and fascinating. I would have liked to see the bear, also. The photography was stunning. Again thanks..


  9. Thanks so much Darlene!


  10. Jim Kingsley Says:

    Linda, very interesting pics of the banding process!


  11. Pat, I appreciate your comment, thank you!


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