Mad Island Banding

March 30, 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:

"This was our biggest day yet at the Mad Island Banding Station! We caught 48 birds of 16 species. Highlights were our first northern waterthrush, indigo bunting, gray catbird and a beautiful blue-gray gnatcatcher. White-eyed vireos came in droves today. We got 18 today!"

Indigo Bunting (left) and White-eyed Vireo (right) © Gerhard Hofmann

"Our bay side banding station allows us to observe many other species, as well. Yesterday we saw a coyote, an alligator, a rattlesnake, bottle-nosed dolphins and white-tailed deer!"