Mad Island Banding

April 11, 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:

"Compared to yesterday, today seemed really slow, but we still got a wide variety of species coming through. We had 6 indigo buntings, 3 Kentucky warblers, 2 blue-winged warblers, 2 hooded warblers, 1 prothonotary warbler, 1 worm-eating warbler, 2 orchard orioles, 1 northern cardinal, and 7 ruby-throated hummingbirds."

"It was pretty hot (90 degrees) by 11 a.m. so we were running nets every 15 minutes most of the day and closing some nets when we had to because they were in direct sunlight. We have had a strong onshore wind so we think most birds are flying on over."