Mad Island Banding

April 1, 2013 by Pete Marra


The 2013 season of bird banding at Mad Island Texas has begun! We are approaching the end of our first week at the site, and we the intrepid crew wanted to introduce ourselves and share some early highlights. The 2013 crew is made up of Tim Guida, Gunner Kramer and Trischa Thorne. Combined we have over 12 years of experience banding birds in 10 states.

Our first day of banding was March 18th and we caught some nice birds right from the start. Most of our captures this week have been birds which spend the winter here. Many of these birds will soon be departing for points north to breed. Among these are Swamp and Lincoln's Sparrows, as well as Western Palm and Orange-crowned Warblers.

Along with the wintering species, we have also started to catch the first trickle of the long distance migrants. Notable so far are Yellow-throated Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, and Northern Parula.

When not banding the crew has been enjoying the bird diversity of the Texas coast. We have observed over 130 species on the reserve in the first week. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was easily a highlight, as are the Crested Caracaras and White-tailed Hawks which soar over the grasslands here.

Pictured above, top to bottom: black-and-white warbler, banding crew (left to right, Trisha, Tim and Gunnar), yellow-throated vireo, hooded warbler

We have also had sightings of some of our new neighbors, Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes and American Alligators. So far things have gone smoothly with the exception of a little sunburn, but our friends and families back north have no sympathy (apparently the winter continues up there).

Everyone is gearing up to see what the winds will bring tomorrow. Stay Tuned!

Number of Captures: 80
Number of Species Captured: 20
Number of Species Seen: 130