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bird banding, chickadee

Banded Chickadee in the Hand

Bird banding serves as an educational opportunity and a way for a father and daughter to bond over their interest in birds.

“Daddy, you should become a bird bander so I can help.”

Last weekend we attended the inaugural Young Birders Conference hosted by the Indiana Young Birder’s Club. My teenage daughter was interested in going and insisted on bringing me along. Of course, I was delighted to join her.

The real highlight for both of us was the bird banding demonstration. She got to hold a Carolina Chickadee (pictured above). Can you see the band on its leg?

The chickadee hatched this year. It wasn’t happy about being captured; but, it was docile enough. My daughter helped write down all the data the bander was collecting. After the band was placed on the leg, the chickadee was placed on its back in my daughter’s hand. It didn’t realize it was free to go and stayed in her hand for about two minutes. How cool is that!

My daughter also got to help collect data on a recaptured White-breasted Nuthatch. Recaptured birds are always exciting because someone has previously banded them. The whole point of bird banding is to hopefully recapture/recover banded birds so scientists can use that information to understand things like lifespan, migration, population trends, territory movements, etc.

What a special time I had with my daughter and what a fascinating, unique experience we had with the birds.

To learn more about bird banding or report a bird with a band, go here, http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/