Bird Banding

at River Bend Nature Center

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lincoln's sparrow

A few notes on Bird Banding at River Bend

What could be more exciting than seeing wild birds up close – maybe even right in your hand?! For two decades the River Bend bird banding team taught thousands of students and the public about birds and demonstrated the techniques of bird banding. Participants viewed the nets, saw the birds, helped attach leg bands, and even helped release the birds unharmed back to the wild.The station was supervised by River Bend's Chief Naturalist, John Blackmer, who departed River Bend in 2007. The operation is now disbanded.

Report a banded bird online!


The Banding Process...

About a dozen nearly invisible "mist" nets were deployed around the banding station under the watchful eye of our experienced net tenders. Captured birds were extracted from the nets unharmed and then brought to the banding station for further study and banding before being released. This is where students observed and assisted with the actual banding and releasing process. Data was gathered before students viewed the birds, helped apply the leg bands, and released each bird unharmed

Photographs by John Blackmer and the rest of the banding team
(click photos to enlarge)

The banding
station

Brianna bands
a bird

Brenda shows
a bird

John processes
a cuckoo

Student hold a
migration map

Kathy extracts
a bird from net

Jamie removes a
red-winged blackbird

Maureen removes a swamp sparrow

Troy works on a swampie

Sarah teaches a class with a bird

Sarah bands a goldfinch with a student

Students examine a mist net

A female goldfinch hangs in the "basket" of a net

Sara collects data on a black-and-white warbler

Johnny G. gives the students a closer look

Becky and a student band a bird

A band is applied to the leg of a female red-winged blackbird

A bird with its new band

Marion and a student prepare to release a bird

Two students release birds with Becky and Marion

An American goldfinch is released

Marion examines our first-ever scarlet tanager

Johnny G. talks to students at the banding station

Barney leads some students to the banding station

Harold leads some students to the banding station

Katie shows a redstart

Teresa admires a yellow warbler

Katie helps a student release a bird

Josh shares a cardinal with some students

Katie and Teresa show a pair of yellow warblers

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A closer look at some of the species of birds
caught at the River Bend banding station

black-billed cuckoo

black-billed
cuckoo

male blackpoll warbler

blackpoll
warbler (m)

female blackpoll warbler

blackpoll
warbler (f)

male indigo bunting

indigo
bunting (m)

female indigo bunting

indigo
bunting (f)

harris's sparrow

Harris's
sparrow

red-bellied woodpecker

red-bellied
woodpecker (m)

red-eyed vireo

red-eyed
vireo

yellow-throated vireo

yellow-throated
vireo

white-crowned sparrow

white-crowned
sparrow

tennessee warblers

Tennessee
warblers (m-f)

traill's flycatcher

Traill's
flycatcher*

house finch

house finch

clay-colored sparrow

clay-colored
sparrow

Be sure to click
thumbnails to
view larger photos!

rose-breasted grosbeak

rose-breasted grosbeak

red-bellied woodpecker

red-bellied woodpecker

red-bellied woodpecker

red-bellied woodpecker

tree swallow

tree swallow

solitary sandpiper

solitary sandpiper

scarlet tanager

scarlet tanager

scarlet tanager

scarlet tanager

male magnolia warbler

magnolia warbler (male)

female magnolia warbler

magnolia warbler (female)

gold-winged warbler

golden-winged warbler (male)

wilsons warbler

Wilsons warbler

chestnut-sided warbler

chestnut-sided warbler

orange-crowned warbler

orange-crowned warbler

american goldfinches

American goldfinches
(male-female)

swamp sparrow

swamp sparrow

yellow-rumped "myrtle" warbler

yellow-rumped "myrtle" warbler

cape may warbler

cape may warbler

black and white warbler

black-and-white warbler (male)

canada warbler

Canada warbler

northern waterthrush

northern waterthrush

yellow warblers

yellow warblers (male-female)

male yellow warbler

yellow warbler (male)

male american redstart

American redstart (male)

male american redstart

American redstart (male)

female american redstart

American redstart (female)

blue-headed vireo

blue-headed vireo

red-eyed vireo

red-eyed vireo

warbling vireo

warbling vireo

traill's least flycatchers

Traill's*/least flycatchers

blue-gray gnatcatcher

blue-gray gnatcatcher

house wren

house wren

sedge wren

sedge wren

white-throated sparrow

white-throated sparrow

song sparrow

song sparrow

lincolns sparrow

Lincolns sparrow

male baltimore oriole

Baltimore oriole (male)

female baltimore oriole

Baltimore oriole (female)

orchard oriole

orchard oriole

gray catbird

gray catbird

male red-winged blackbird

red-winged blackbird (male)

indigo bunting

indigo bunting

downy woodpecker

downy woodpecker

female northern cardinal

northern cardinal (female)

cedar waxwing

cedar waxwing

brown thrasher

brown thrasher

*while the name Traill's flycatcher is no longer used by birders, it is still an acceptable banding
designation when it can not be determined for certain whether the bird is a willow or alder flycatcher.

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Banding Results

Includes all banding locations and dates
most caught at River Bend, some in neighboring communities
data prior to 1993 not electronically accessible
banders do not always use same bird names as general birders

Species

Banded

Recap

Total

American Goldfinch web camera.gif (163 bytes) 661 53 715
American Redstart web camera.gif (163 bytes) 44 1 45
American Robin 50 2 52
Baltimore Oriole web camera.gif (163 bytes) 24 9 33
Black-and-White Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 30 2 32
Black-billed Cuckoo web camera.gif (163 bytes) 2 0 2
Black-capped Chickadee 90 16 106
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher web camera.gif (163 bytes) 3 0 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 50 11 61
Blue-headed Vireo web camera.gif (163 bytes) 9 0 9
Blue Jay 8 0 8
Blackpoll Warbler - m web camera.gif (163 bytes) f web camera.gif (163 bytes) 13 0 13
Brown Thrasher web camera.gif (163 bytes) 6 2 8
Canada Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 5 0 5
Clay-colored Sparrow web camera.gif (163 bytes) 15 1 16
Cedar Waxwing 5 0 5
Chipping Sparrow 44 1 45
Cape May Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 3 0 3
Common Grackle 29 0 29
Common Yellowthroat 630 101 731
Chestnut-sided Warbler 10 1 11
Downy Woodpecker web camera.gif (163 bytes) 62 21 83
Eastern Bluebird 1 0 1
Eastern Kingbird 1 0 1
Eastern Phoebe 3 0 3
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1 0 1
Field Sparrow 19 1 20
Fox Sparrow 1 0 1
Gray-cheeked Thrush 13 0 13
Gray Catbird web camera.gif (163 bytes) 86 10 97
Golden-winged Warbler 3 0 3
Harris's Sparrow web camera.gif (163 bytes) 3 0 3
Hairy Woodpecker 8 0 8
House Finch web camera.gif (163 bytes) 1 0 1
House Wren web camera.gif (163 bytes) 95 20 115
Indigo Bunting - m web camera.gif (163 bytes) f web camera.gif (163 bytes) 10 0 10
Least Flycatcher web camera.gif (163 bytes) 73 0 73
Lincoln's Sparrow web camera.gif (163 bytes) 167 21 188
Magnolia Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 16 1 17
Marsh Wren 10 0 10
Mourning Dove 2 0 2
Mourning Warbler 3 0 3
Myrtle Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 239 4 243
Nashville Warbler 37 1 38
Northern Cardinal web camera.gif (163 bytes) 15 0 15
Northern Waterthrush web camera.gif (163 bytes) 148 9 157
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 3 0 3
Orange-crowned Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 35 2 37
Orchard Oriole web camera.gif (163 bytes) 1 0 1
Ovenbird web camera.gif (163 bytes) 18 0 18
Pine Sisken 1 0 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak web camera.gif (163 bytes) 17 1 18
Red-bellied Woodpecker web camera.gif (163 bytes) web camera.gif (163 bytes) 4 1 5
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 19 1 20
Red-eyed Vireo web camera.gif (163 bytes) 3 1 4
Red-winged Blackbird web camera.gif (163 bytes) 72 9 81
Slate-colored Junco 8 0 8
Scarlet Tanager web camera.gif (163 bytes) 1 0 1
Sedge Wren web camera.gif (163 bytes) 2 0 2
Song Sparrow web camera.gif (163 bytes) 85 26 111
Solitary Vireo 10 0 10
Swamp Sparrow 598 214 813
Swainson's Thrush 54 1 55
Tennessee Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 22 0 22
Tree Swallow web camera.gif (163 bytes) 8 0 8
Traill's Flycatcher web camera.gif (163 bytes) 12 0 12
Veery 1 0 1
Warbling Vireo web camera.gif (163 bytes) 34 26 60
White-breasted Nuthatch 22 2 24
White-Crowned Sparrow web camera.gif (163 bytes) 21 0 21
Wilson's Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 61 1 62
Wood Thrush 1 0 1
White-throated Sparrow 66 1 67
Yellow Palm Warbler 100 1 101
Yellow-shafted Flicker 5 0 5
Yellow-throated Vireo web camera.gif (163 bytes) 1 0 1
Yellow Warbler web camera.gif (163 bytes) 179 22 201
Totals (77 species) 4212 597 4812


All-Time Records for River Bend

(all band prefixes intentionally omitted)

Most captured species:

swamp sparrow: 813
common yellowthroat 731
American goldfinch 715

Number of species captured only once: 12

Bird species captured but not banded or counted in totals on this page:

  • solitary sandpiper (2), Virginia rail (1), sharp-shinned hawk (1)
  • ruby-throated hummingbirds (approx. 20)
  • northern cardinals (6) not banded when captured starting in 2005

Most captured individual birds:

  • (16) swamp sparrow #46091 banded then recaptured 4x in 2001, 3x in 2002, 3x in 2003, 0x in 2004, 2x in 2005, and 2x in 2006.
  • (12) swamp sparrow #46100 banded then recaptured 4x in 2001, 4x in 2002, 3x in 2003
  • (11) swamp sparrow #46006 banded then recaptured 4x in 1999, 3x in 2000, 3x in 2001
  • (10) common yellowthroat #85685 banded in 1998, recaptured 3x in 1999, recaptured 6x in 2000

Longest recaptures:

  • (7 yrs) American goldfinch #85840 was first banded in 1999 and recaptured in 2006.
  • (7 yrs) downy woodpecker #89305 first banded in 1994, recaptured in 1999, recaptured twice in 2000 (rebanded as #89936), recaptured in 2001
  • (6 yrs) warbling vireo #85929 was banded in 2000, and then recaptured in 2001, 2005, and 2006.
  • (6 yrs) American goldfinch #85996 was first banded in 2000 and recaptured in 2006.
  • (5 yrs) red-bellied woodpecker #89650 first banded in 2000, recaptured in 2005 (and still seeing him around in 2006)

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Cool links on birds and banding

Bird Club of Rice County

Christmas Bird Count

The U.S. bird banding lab: www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/default.htm

A site for classrooms on animal migration: www.learner.org/jnorth/

A site for classrooms on hummingbirds: www.rubythroat.org/

Lots of cool bird stuff: www.wbu.com/chipperwoods/photos.htm

Another center's bird banding page: www.westol.com/~banding/


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