Banding a nest

It’s rare that I have photos of the process of banding a nest, since usually everyone is holding a chick and we don’t have any extra hands for photographic documentation. For a few nests, however, I was lucky enough to have my father with us, and boy does he like to photograph things! Thanks to him I can show you what it looks like when we band a nest.

EDIT: If you click on these (or any photos on this blog) you can see them bigger.

The nest. If you click to expand it and look closely you can see the female sitting on it.

The nest, tucked next to the clump of plants in the center. If you look closely you can see Mom sitting on it.

Me taking the chicks from the nest, with Kyle ready to catch any runners.

Me taking the chicks from the nest, with Kyle ready to catch any runners.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Often when you approach the nest, the female will flare her tail and run around on the ground to try to draw your attention away from the nest. This is a tail-on view of Mom doing that. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Often when you approach the nest, the female will flare her tail and spread her wings and run around on the ground to try to draw your attention away from the nest. This is a tail-on view of Mom doing that.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Mom, angrily chipping at us. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Mom, angrily chipping at us.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Mom peering at us. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Mom watching us. The parents knew we had the chicks, and sometimes swooped down quite near us, especially when the chicks called.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad. You can tell the parents apart by the color of their hoods: the male's is darker. Ideally the parents would be banded and identifiable by their band combinations, but we didn't manage to band this pair. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad watching. You can tell the parents apart by the color of their hoods: the male’s is darker. Ideally the parents would be banded and identifiable by their band combinations, but we didn’t manage to band this pair.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Kyle banding OKRA, with Kia. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Kyle banding OKRA, with Kia.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

OKRA, banded and grumpy about it.

OKRA, banded and grumpy about it.

KALE

KALE

YAMM. Get it - they're all edible plants! We had been planning this trio of names for a long time.

YAMM. Get it – they’re all edible plants! We had been planning this trio of names for a long time.

And the non-plant: MRKA. It was the 4th of July, so, 'Merica. I like his hairstyle here.

And the non-plant: MRKA. It was the 4th of July, so, ‘Merica. I like his hairstyle here.

Photo by M. LaBarbera

Photo by M. LaBarbera

Photo by M. LaBarbera

Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad has a bug for the chicks. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad has a shiny green bug for the chicks.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

What to do? Photo by M. LaBarbera

What to do?
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Mom has a bug too. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Mom has a bug too.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Photo by M. LaBarbera

Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad went to the nest to try to feed the chicks - you can see his tail here - even though he definitely had seen that we had the chicks. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad went to the nest to try to feed the chicks – you can see his tail here – even though he definitely had seen that we had the chicks.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Mom did the same. It does make a kind of sense - that's where the chicks SHOULD be, after all.

Mom did the same. It does make a kind of sense – that’s where the chicks SHOULD be, after all.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad checking the nest again, just in case.

Dad checking the nest again, just in case.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad looking at us again. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad looking at us again.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Photo by M. LaBarbera

Mom watching.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Photo by M. LaBarbera

Dad got a different bug.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Both parents with bugs. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Both parents with bugs.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

Me putting the chicks back in their nest. Photo by M. LaBarbera

Me putting the chicks back in their nest.
Photo by M. LaBarbera

I do wish we could band chicks without upsetting the parents, but since that is impossible, we process the chicks as quickly as we can and then skedaddle. It’s hard not to be sympathetically distressed along with the distressed parents, but the bright side is that these chicks clearly had great parents: they were concerned, they found bugs quickly, and when we put the chicks back they went right down to the nest to see them. (No photos of that because I made everyone go far away so as not to disturb the birds any more.)

More than a month later we saw two of these chicks again, capable of flight and independent.

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7 thoughts on “Banding a nest

  1. You should take your Dad along with you more often. He took a great series of pictures.
    I think if I was ever able to take field trips with any of the bloggers I follow, you would be one of them. Lyle Krahn would also be on my list.

    • I agree!

      You THINK you’d want to come with us, but that’s because I don’t do blog posts called “Photos of every meal we’ve had for the last 10 days (hint: they all look like mush)” and “Argh my back hurts and I miss CHAIRS!” :-) And yes, Lyle Krahn seems like he sees something amazing every day. He would be very cool to tag along with.

  2. Clicking on the photos to enlarge them, I can see the angry mom’s tongue as she chips at you, and OKRA’s beady little eyes as Kyle is banding him.

  3. Pingback: Photos from a marine invertebrate biologist who shares half of my genes | Tough Little Birds

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