Mad Island Banding

April 22, 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:

"Friday nights rain storm brought the predicted north winds, but gusts were so high we could not open all of our nets on Saturday. None the less, we caught 55 birds."

"We had two visitors from the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in Lake Jackson, TX. Thank you Felipe and Sasa for helping us net & band all day."

"We also participated in the Matagorda County Big Day Spring bird count, organized by the Bay City Nature Club."

"Among the amazing birds caught Saturday were a chuck-wills-widow and a common nighthawk, both in the goatsucker family, but quite different from one another. We caught our first magnolia and Canada Warblers, too."

"We are experiencing waves of different species—indigo buntings by the score and then catbirds and then today, common yellowthroats. Baltimore and orchard orioles and tanagers have mostly stopped showing up. Still catching painted buntings and a variety of warblers."

Common Nighthawk by Richard Stade