Banded birds and other old friends

IMG_1448Most Octobers find us on Jekyll Island for a week or so, to enjoy the gorgeous weather and the beach at its finest season. The days – and the ocean – are warm enough for swimming and the nights are just cool enough to make you enjoy the breeze.

We always make it a point to visit JIBS – the Jekyll Island Banding Station – for a couple hours during our stay. I enjoy the chance to see birds up close and I also like hanging out with the folks who run the station. Often, it’s the only time I see these friends all year. It feels good to hang out with others who are as nerdy about birds in their own way! Our timing was off somewhat this year, in that most of the days were “slow”, but still the common birds are especially beautiful when you can appreciate the fine details of their feathers (like those of the white-eyed vireo pictured here) up close. I come away from any visit having learned something new.

It might be easy to wonder about the benefits of bird-banding, at least until you find a banded bird in the field yourself. Information on migration, mortality rates and range are some of the things that researchers learn from banding.

Another must-visit-place is Gould’s Inlet on St. Simmons Island; I go there to enjoy the birds at low-tide. I’m always hoping to see a couple Piping Plover. Each year, I look for PIPLs that are banded, as the inlet is a popular place for wintering birds. I’ve found 3 banded birds there, and at least a dozen others in tplover3 copyhe couple years I’ve visited during the month of October. I report the band combinations and in return find out a little info about the bird. Two of the three banded birds are from the Great Lakes and this year we saw a bird from the Great Plains population. Especially interesting is the PIPL in the photo – I first saw this bird (hatched on the UP of Michigan in 2007) in 2012 and we saw it again this year! It’s 7 years old and apparently spends every winter at Gould’s Inlet. This bird, too, feels like an old friend almost, one that I can only recognize because of the colored bands on its legs. Pretty cool, huh?

 


6 thoughts on “Banded birds and other old friends”

  1. Jekyll Island-now that sounds like a good place to Hyde! Nice photo of the vireo! We don’t normally get WE vireos near where I live and I was baffled the first couple of times I heard its song. I was thinking it was some sort of flycatcher but finally figured it out by recording and comparing audio.

  2. I just realized that you moved your blog to WordPress and your own domain and I updated it on my blog roll! Your photos are gorgeous!

    How do you like WordPress so far? I’ve been planning to take the plunge for some time but I’ve always been leery of the self-hosting part, since I’m definitely not a techie. And I know that there is a real learning curve with WordPress, since I’ve played around with it a bit. But if I move to WordPress, it would definitely be the self-hosted version.

    Anyway, your blog looks just great!

    1. Thanks… a long overdue change on my part. I love WordPress; my only complaint so far is the incredible number of spam comments (10,000+ in just the last month) that I have to deal with.

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