Mad Island Banding

May 9, 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:

"Our final week of banding has been interesting. Tuesday we had a big fallout of kindergarteners—47 of them! They were all eager to see the birds we had caught and we gave each child their own paperwrist band with a unique number and a birdmark, a beautiful bird bookmark. Julie Sullivan and Adam Hinkle were indispensible help with the children. Tomorrow, we expect another kinder fallout at the banding station.

Today, with a light north wind, we had a bird fallout, with 87 new birds, including a bay-breasted warbler, (our first), 12 magnolia warblers, 6 eastern wood-peewees, one Acadian flycatcher, 14 Traill's flycatchers and 2 yellow-bellied flycatchers. It was the morning of Magnolias and the afternoon of the Empids!

We had a surprising visitor in our banding lanes today, a bobcat! We will add it to the list of amazing wildlife here at Mad Island March Preserve."