We put up one canopy and then got the mist nets up and started catching birds that had taken shelter from the storm in our woods. We even caught a new bird for the banding station, a Hairy Woodpecker. In fact, we caught three of them, a male and two females. You would think that after having the station running for 47 years, we would have gotten one of these, but not so. They do nest in the woods down by the lake but had never ventured up into our nets before. So now we have banded all the local woodpeckers except a Pileated Woodpecker. They have been flying and calling around the station, but we haven’t had one in the nets yet. They are a handful as you could imagine, but we do nearly catch and band them every year. Then we put on a few Band Aids.
Earlier in the week we had what I think was even a bigger event catching a new bird for the banding station. We had been catching and banding Blue Jays, American Goldfinch, a few White-Throated, Savannah, and Lincoln Sparrows not long after the nets were up. We had a few volunteers and a couple early visitors and not long after Master Bander Gordon Howard arrived, he went out checking nets. When he came back, he said to the group we need to have a little chat at the banding table as he held a bird in a holding bag in his hand.
We all gathered around, and he carefully pulled this mystery bird out of the bag. This was also a new bird for the site and one that shouldn’t have come this far north, but it did. It was a beautiful Yellow-Breasted Chat. For me and him, it was probably one of the rarest birds we would ever catch at this site. There were a lot of comments as the bird was banded, measured, and photographed to the nines. It was only the second Chat that I had ever seen. Then it was released to be on its way. A cell phone leak just like the one at the Supreme Court got a birding group that was taking a tour around the area that day onsite in minutes. They spent over an hour searching the joining woods where we released the bird, but never saw it.
Gary lives with his wife, Karen, at Eight Acre Wood in Inlet where he was the Forest Ranger for 35 years, working in the Moose River Wild Forest Recreation Area and West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area. Now retired, Gary works summers for the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, observing, catching and banding loons. The author of a column Daybreak to Twilight in local papers from 1986 to 2019, he now writes his Outdoor Adventures a weekly blog. In 2008, Gary coauthored a book with John M.C. “Mike” Peterson, “Adirondack Birding- 60 Great Places to Find Birds.”
NYS bans poultry meets but allows the handling of wild birds. Thats NYS for you.
Wild, migratory birds protected by international treaty vs. NYS domestic poultry production selling products to the public. I can see the difference. I can’t explain NYS.
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