Legal! And scrambling

I got my state permit! I am now legally allowed to catch and band juncos in my low elevation sites. (My high elevation sites have an additional permit I’m still waiting on.) Yay!

I could band him

I could band her

Less awesomely, some equipment that I expected to have by now is backordered, so I’m going to have to improvise a little. But I’m fortunate that it’s nothing I can’t improvise. I’ve spent the last few days scrambling to get things that I really couldn’t do without, and it seems like all of that has been successful, so I’m happy.

Auxiliary marking permit all set!

I just got confirmation that one of my permits – to put colored leg bands on the juncos – is approved! This is awesome. Putting colored leg bands on birds allows researchers to tell individuals apart, since we can put unique combinations of colors on each bird. For example, here are the color bands of RROA, a male House Wren who lived in Ithaca:


RROA = Red Red Orange Aluminum, with the aluminum band being the official US Fish & Wildlife band; this band has a unique number engraved on it, and all information about the bird is associated with that number. However, you have to be holding the bird in your hand to read its USF&W number, so researchers use color bands to be able to tell who is who without capturing the bird. We could identify RROA just by looking at his color bands with our binoculars – we didn’t even have to disturb him. RROA bred in our field site for three years, the longest of any House Wren there. (And yes, we called him RROA – pronounced Roe-uh.)