Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bird Adaptations Class

Since the new year started and it's not as busy at work anymore, I have switched back to my 4-day-a-week schedule. It was sure nice to sleep in a little longer this morning! Plus I was able to add some time to my Master Naturalist volunteer hours log by participating as an assistant in the Bird Adaptations Class held for Rochester public school 3rd graders. I got to Quarry Hill Nature Center around 9:15 to meet with Carrie (the class leader) and find out what my duties would be with this class. Shortly before the class was due to start, Carrie got a phone call from the school saying there wouldn't be any students this morning as no arrangements for transport to Quarry Hill had been made with the bus company. Oh well, that's the way it goes sometimes.... However, as long as the mist net was up and one of the other naturalists at Quarry Hill was doing bird banding this morning, we decided to continue catching some birds. I was thankful that Carrie had time to work with me as I definitely need more experience getting birds out of the mist net.

We caught a really good variety of birds this morning. Here's a little White-Breasted Nuthatch I was able to release from the net myself. Experienced bird banders are probably cringing as they see the grip I have on this poor little nuthatch, and that's exactly why I really need to get more experience at the nets. I love working with the birds though because it's such an amazing experience to hold these tiny feathered creatures in my hand.

Here's Carrie holding the female Cardinal she retrieved from the net. Mrs. Cardinal was extremely verbal in voicing her displeasure while being removed from the net. Fortunately, Carrie's a very experienced bird bander and was able to avoid any abuse from Mrs. Cardinal's strong beak. Isn't she a beautiful bird though?

We also caught a male Hairy Woodpecker in the net. This is the first time I've ever been able to see one of these guys up close. His head feathers look a little ruffled and I'm not sure if that's from having the net removed from his head or just his annoyance at being held by Carrie.

And last of all, I decided to have a little fun with the stuff Great Horned Owl that was on display as part of the Bird Adaptations Class. Check out that wingspan! It looked really intimidating to me just standing there and holding it......can you imagine what a cottontail thinks as it sees this owl swooping down toward it?


Anonymous said...

The little birds look so fragile. I sure would be intimidated by an owl that size, especially it I was bunny.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Oooh- I'm so envious of your participation in bird banding. What a thrill to hold such a tiny creature!.

Larry said...

I like seeing those birds held in a grip.They look rather calm considering.-That Hairy has quite the bill on it.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mom,
The birds are tiny and it's really neat to hold them. The first bird I tried to get out of the net was a chickadee and they are so feisty! I had to laugh as it was pecking me so hard with its tiny little beak!

Hi Lynne,
I'm pretty fortunate because Quarry Hill's always in need of volunteers. They have bird banding Sunday once a month and then opportunities like the Bird Adaptations class in between. I'm on their volunteer list now, so they contact me for bird stuff which is very cool I think!

Hi Larry,
The birds do calm down quite a bit once they're out of the net. I took a Downy Woodpecker out also and was very surprised to notice that she really smelled like suet!

Ruth said...

What a great experience that would be. I hope to participate in bird banding some day. I am sure it causes the birds some frightening moments though.

Jayne said...

What an amazing experience to have Ruthie! I am sure that you will become an expert in no time at all. :c)

troutbirder said...

What fun. I've had no experience with handling birds except for an overnbird I revived after it hit my window last summer. Am really glad I got acquainted with Quarry Hill last year as (believe it or not) I had never been there before.

Gaelyn said...

What an awesome experience. The birds do look fragile. I've only handled raptures so wore gloves. Too bad the kids couldn't make it yet nice you got this opportunity.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Ruth,
I hope you get a chance to find a bird banding event near you. I know you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Hi Jayne,
It really is pretty neat. Just the chance to hold the birds and see them up close is so cool.

Hi Ray,
The first Sunday afternoon of every month Quarry Hill has bird banding, so be sure to check it out some Sunday if you're interested (they will let you release a banded bird if you want to)

Hi Gaelyn,
To tell you the truth, I'm a lot more intimidated by 3rd graders than I am by getting birds out of the nest, so not having the kids show up was actually a good thing for me! It sounds like there are other Bird Adaptations classes, so I could try volunteering for another one in the future.