Andrew has been out to band some raptors before their release back into the wild a couple of times lately for our friends at the Avian Reconditioning Center and now they were ready to release some more. During this time, we have been helping to train Allison Miller in the hopes that she can be qualified to band them on their own.
We love heading out there but it is a good distance away and it would be more convenient if someone was able to do it whenever they are ready to set a bird free which can sometimes be at a moment's notice.
We had several species to band today and the first up was one of the last American Kestrel still on hand. We banded a bunch of them last month.
Next up was a species we have not banded here in a while. Eastern Screech Owls. We occasionally catch them in the wild at the banding station. Today we had four adorable young birds ready for jewelry. Most were waiting by the door to their enclosure.
Allison brought out the first Eastern Screech Owl. Notice the thick gloves they wear to grab the birds to avoid any injury. Raptor talons and beaks are super sharp and strong.
Once she retrieved a bird, she would hand it over to Andrew (no gloves for him!) so she can do the actual banding procedure.
After being banded and the data recorded, the Eastern Screech Owls just want us to go away.
On to the largest birds of the day. Great-horned Owls. Here, Allison applies the band to the first subject.
Scott brought in the next Great-horned Owl. Andrew's son, Patrick, had the photography duties for these big guys, all juveniles.
Great-horned Owl have extremely strong claws to grab their prey. Also a deadly set of talons you don't want to be caught up in!
The last Great-horned Owl is brought...
...and Allison applied another band while we check that everything is secured properly.
You can see the band on this bird's leg and now we have a lot of birds about ready to be released.
Allison is doing a great job with the banding so we now just wait for the paperwork to clear and she will be on her way to taking over. We are now discussing the possibility of doing a banding demo for their next Owl Fest in November. We would only be catching our typical small bird species but it would give the public a chance to see the banding process in action.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, August 3rd.
All nets will be opened by 6:20 A.M.