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:
"Another windy day at Mad Island. Winds 15 to 20 knots Closed all but protected nets. Last few days have been slow, but the south winds should be sending spring migrants further north safely & quickly!
Starting to catch a few juveniles already—local breeders, Carolina chickadees & Carolina wrens. Very sweet. We release them back to their parents ASAP.
We caught our first empidonax, keyed out to be an acadian flycatcher. Waves of male & then female painted buntings dropping in.
We have captured 6 species of vireos! — white-eyed, red-eyed, Philadelphia, blue-headed, yellow-throated, & warbling. Still catching lots of indigo buntings & gray catbirds, rose-breasted grosbeaks & common yellowthroats."
Six vireos: top row, left to right, white-eyed, red-eyed, Philadelphia: bottom row, left to right, blue-headed, yellow-throated, and warbling