How to Frustrate and Depress a Bird Bander!
It is an astonishingly simple recipe. First, put an awesome and rare bird in a net; second, make sure not to have the proper band for it. That’s it! Easy as pie!
So, this morning, a male Merlin was caught in a net, maybe because it was pursuing the White-crowned Sparrow that got caught not far in the same net. Birds of prey bigger than Sharp-shinned Haw get lock-on bands, a special type that prevents the bands from being pried open by their strong beak. We do have some but only of size 4. Sadly, the Merlin was a small male and it required a size 3A, just a bit smaller than a 4. Even though its legs were relatively bigger than the male Merlin we let go unbanded in the spring, it still was not safe enough to put a 4 size band on, especially for a species that needs all the agility it takes to catch small, fast, birds in mid-air.
After duly taking lots of pictures, we let it go unbanded…
To cheer us up, the Black-backed Woodpecker was back! At least, we can assume it’s the same. We didn’t catch it but not all birds have to end up in our nets, after all. Wait… Why not? And also, at the end of the day, we had very good views of a young Red-headed Woodpecker, catching big bugs in the air from the half-dead birch in front of the station, while 2 young Bald Eagles were circling in a depth-less blue sky.
That did it! Not too depressed and frustrated after all…