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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.

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