Following our quick couple of hours at the banding site on Saturday we had to make our appointment over at the Avian Reconditioning Center (ARC) where Allison has been wanting to get some raptors banded before they are released back into the wild. An American Kestrel and Barred Owl were brought into the facility, have been healed, are healthy enough to be set free. We would soon learn there were a couple other surprises ahead.
This is also a day to get Allison some extra banding practice so that she can do it on her own in the future. The American Kestrel was brought in for its band and we couldn't resist a couple shots. We have to band indoors just in case the birds try to escape so the lighting is not the best.
American Kestrels are very skittish in the while so getting a shot of them in their natural setting can be difficult. The colors on these birds is amazing.
We thought the owl would be next but our surprise was that there were also a couple of Cooper's Hawks waiting in the wings. Since Allison was doing the banding, Andrew had to turn the camera over to Christine so he could hold the raptors.
First, one Cooper's Hawk...
...then the other.
Finally, the Barred Owl was brought in. Andrew measures the bird's tarsus to make sure the proper band size is used.
Bands for Barred Owls are sometimes a difficult task. Instead of a simple band, they are lock-ons and take more skill. This turned into a 3-person chore but in the end the banding was successful and the owl was taken back to the mew and will be released soon.
A well-rounded banding day. We began by getting the smaller birds in the area as the Common Yellowthroats returned and then we end by getting much larger birds banded at ARC. Time to get a little rest before we head back to the banding site Sunday.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, September 15th.
All nets will be opened by 6:35 A.M.