Bird Banding on Wing Island

While I was in Cape Cod, I took advantage of the opportunity to do some Bird Banding with Sue Finnegan, Cape Cod Bander extraordinaire. She has been banding birds longer than I have been alive, and it shows. She processes birds so fast it is mind blowing.

The weather was surprisingly humid, so unfortunately, the bird activity was not as much as it had been earlier in the week. Still, for me, any amount of birds was heavenly. I headed off after Ron, a volunteer who stumbled upon banding by accident and has since banded over 1,000 birds. Together, we collected dozens of Gray Catbirds, American Goldfinch, and a handful of less common birds. My favorite was the Yellow-breasted Chat. Although they are apparently a usual sight in Cape Cod, they are rare in the Hudson Valley. My friend Ryan and I waited hours for the one that showed up unexpectedly in Dutchess County this June to make an appearance for us. 

I'm always amazed at the limitless intricacy of bird design. I marveled at the orange-gold color that splashed across the scapulars of hatch-year American Goldfinch and the seemingly weightlessness of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. This is definitely something I could do everyday!