Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bird Banding At Fenner Nature Center

Saturday morning I got up early and headed out to Fenner Nature Center to photograph the Earth Day activities there.  One of the coolest things they had there was the bird banding exhibit hosted by volunteers of Michigan State University's Burke Lake Banding Station.  They had set up several nets earlier in the morning to capture some birds to band and on which to record data.  The data collection requires a significant amount of blowing on the birds to fluff their plumage, which shows their musculature and fat under their feathers.  They also measure their body and wing lengths, attempt to determine the birds' sex, and note any peculiarities of individual birds.  The weighing process is an unique one, as they place the birds head-down in PVC pipe sections to keep them from flying away.  As you can see in the photo of the Northern Cardinal below, not every bird gets in the PVC pipes willingly!  At the bottom of this post you can view a video of several of the steps in the process, including the release of the birds at the end.

Also, I rarely promote specific causes on my blog, but for this amazing group I shall.  The banding station is trying to raise funds to operate this fall.  They host school groups to learn about the process and get kids outside into nature.  If you are so inclined, you may donate through their Indiegogo site:

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