Mad Island Banding

April 16, 2012 by Pete Marra

Every spring millions and millions of migratory birds fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico and make land fall at places like the TNC's Mad Island Preserve in Texas. Thanks to support from SCBI champion Helen DuBois and the Trull Foundation, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) is there to greet these tired travelers back to the United States. A collaborative effort, SMBC along with TNC and the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory plan to combine a rigorous bird banding effort along with a educational activities for local Texas school groups to excite the masses about migratory birds and their migration. Please check in with us regularly from now until mid-May to see how this amazing animal migration is faring.

Bea Harrison, the lead bander, writes:

"Strong storms arriving here, with a forecast of wind shift to north later today and tomorrow. This could mean lots of birds forced down by unfavorable conditions for migration. We banded for 2 hours this morning between thunderstorms and caught 11 birds of 10 different species! We got our first painted buntings—both males and amazingly beautiful, a male rose-breasted grosbeak and a male yellow warbler!

More news later. When it stops raining we will get back out there.

Painted Bunting (left), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (center), Yellow Warbler (right). © Gerhard Hofmann.