Mad Island Banding

May 1, 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:

"Migration seems to be winding down, but we are still catching some interesting birds, including ovenbirds, gray catbirds and ruby-throated hummingbirds. So far this year we have caught about 1000 birds of 79 species, with 25 species of warblers. We added a surprising new species yesterday morning, a varied bunting! Not normally found in this area, this bird was purple and blue with a red nape."

"Yesterday we had a student group from the Lutheran South Academy and they were thrilled to see a yellow warbler, a Tennessee warbler and a Lincoln's sparrow. Robert & Kay Lookingbill from Gulf Coast Bird Observatory joined us in the banding station & did a wonderful job with the students We enjoyed this great group of possible future scientists."