Sunday, November 23, 2008

November Bird Banding

We had another session this month. It was back to standard time, so I had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to make it out to the coast for our 6:34 a.m. start time. I actually was a little early.
My favorite bird yesterday:
We usually don't catch Western Scrub Jays as they are "too smart" (the Master Bander's words) to fly into a mist net. He said only the young ones are stupid enough to do it, and it only happens once. Alas, I aged this bird as an adult. Perhaps s/he (sex difficult to determine unless it's breeding season) was having an off day.

In spite of its large size and fierce appearance, it was very tame in the hand.
When I let it go, it gave a classic jay squawk and shat. Glad it didn't do that in my hand. Handling bird poop is definitely a side effect of banding, but the mostly small birds we handle make small effluvia. This is ... palatable. The jay is not a small bird.

We had another Oak Titmouse, which, again, endlessly abused the fingers of those who handled it. Wasn't me this time! Walter, the Master Bander, said that this bird's raised crest was the avian equivalent of the primate's raised middle finger.
Here's part of our setup; that's Walter on the left, with the canyon behind him.

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