Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bands...a special treat in the birding world!

For me, one of the great special treats in birding is to find a bird that has been banded. Bird banding, or "ringing" as it is referred to in some countries, when a bird is caught either as a young bird, or as an adult in nets. The bird is fitted with a metal or plastic leg band. These are many times colored coded, for quicker identification. This will then allow the ornithologists to study the age, location, sex, and condition of the bird. This information is then logged, for future use if and when the bird is recaptured or recovered. Upon recovery, the new location can aid in the tracking of travel, or migration, condition, mortality rate, and other bits of info that help us understand more about the birds.

When you consider the number of birds there are in the world, a little over 10,000 species, with untold numbers of each of those, the odds of just running into a banded bird are pretty slim. There for I get understandably excited to find a banded bird!  My log book actually list 14 birds, but I only have been able to record 5 with photos.

The one that means even more than most is the Black Oystercatcher, from Spencer Spit, San Juan Islands, just north of Seattle. This bird has a pair of bands, which I later was informed by Washington Fish and Wildlife, when I reported the find, that one is a state band and the other is a federal band. What makes this bird as special as it is, is that the bird was also fitted with a radio tracking devise, as you can see by the long thin line come out near the tail.

Living and traveling by sailboat like we do has allowed us to observe many of the water based species up close and personal, so the bulk of my finds are such species

Brown Pelican  in Monterey Bay....

Juvenile Western Gull in the San Francisco Bay area

Here is a small Arctic Tern, from up on the Pacific side of the Mexican Baja.  This is not a great photo, but I had chased this bird all over and finally settled for this long shot.

  ...and my newest one, is on a Black Brandt, from San Carlos Mexico, at the bottom end of Magdalena Bay.

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