Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Banded Birds

This winter I have come across a few interesting banded birds in local parks. Many of the local Canada Geese have metal leg bands. Unfortunately these are very difficult to read without a lot of patience and careful movements, but it can be done. Reporting a banded bird is a lot easier when the birds are also wearing neck collars, like the four geese above. These were first spotted by Andrew Bobe during this winter's Raritan Estuary Christmas Bird Count. These geese were banded in Quebec Province in Canada, a little north of Montreal. I had previously reported one of the geese, the one with the neck collar F4E9, during the previous year's Christmas Bird Count. It is nice to see a familiar bird come back to the same location.

On Sunday, I found another tagged bird, this time a Ring-billed Gull, on the beach in Perth Amboy. This gull was banded in Massachusetts, at a shopping center a little south of Worchester. The gull was banded last November, which means that it migrated south to New Jersey within the last three months. Perhaps one of the recent snowstorms pushed it south. I found another Ring-billed Gull with orange wing tags while I was futilely searching for a Barnacle Goose at Thompson Park in Monroe Township. I wonder if it might have been tagged by the same banding operation.

If you find a banded bird, please report it! The data collected by banders has a number of different uses, and one of them is learning about migration and dispersal patterns. The more data collected, the more complete the picture will be. You can report directly to the bander (if you know who banded it). Otherwise, the easiest way to submit data is through the Bird Banding Laboratory website.