Moy of Illinois
Today’s post from the fantastic volunteer Mr. Nicholas Moy
I came to Cabot Head Research Station hoping to learn the ins and outs of bird banding. With the help of Andrew, the board of directors, and some great volunteers, my experience here has gone far beyond that.
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and studied Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was there that I became interested in studying birds. After graduating in May, I made the decision to take a break from university and gain experience with wildlife before looking for a masters program. While working with a wildlife rehabilitator during the summer, I found out about BPBO. I had never been to Canada, and the CHRS wasn’t too far from where I was working in Michigan so I didn’t hesitate to apply.
I came to the station at the end of August. Upon arrival, I was pleasantly charmed by the landscape of the Bruce, and the peaceful isolation of the station. I can’t say that the first 5:30 morning wasn’t hard, but when we caught the first bird I knew that I was in the right place. Andrew thoroughly explained setting up nets, extracting, banding, and data entry, and I was helping with all of these by the end of the first week. Since then, I have handled over 60 species of bird, some of which were life birds for me. A great highlight for me was when I extracted and banded my first saw-whet owl.
Living at the station goes beyond birding. It is a refuge in the woods where nearly everyday we hike, swim, canoe, or just sit outside and watch the wildlife. It has also been great to be around fellow nature lovers and biologists, and I have learned a great deal from all of the volunteers. We also have a lot of fun. Even without television or high speed Internet we were never short on entertainment.
Altogether these past two months have been phenomenal. Not only was I able to handle and band hundreds of birds, I got to experience the Bruce, and I had the chance to meet and learn from some passionate and dedicated bird lovers. As for the rest of the year, I will be looking for more short-term fieldwork in the States and applying for graduate programs in ornithology for next fall.