Banding – Not This Year

Sad to say, I won’t be banding here anymore unless I hit the lottery or KY changes the state permit fee.  Let me explain, very simply.  All master banders in the USA must have a federal permit.  Most states in the USA acknowledge that the federal permit is adequate and do not require  additional state permits.  Some states do require a state permit as well – in which case, a bander must obtain a state permit in order to band legally.  Those states that do require a state permit normally charge a permit fee of around $25 for the year.

A few years ago (2003, I think) when I first banded in KY, my state permit fee was $25.  Imagine my surprise last year when I applied for the permit again after being away for several years – and the permit fee was $250.00.  Now, technically, according to the KY regulations, the fee applied to banders who were receiving renumeration for banding, i.e. through a university or museum etc.  If the bander was banding for educational purposes, there was no fee for the state permit.  I didn’t fit into either category (like most banders, I am an independent, volunteer bander operating a small station).  After several emails and questions about regulations, the powers that be decided I had to go ahead and pay the $250 fee if I wanted to band birds in KY.

Since I had already ordered nets, bands, and obtained permission from the landowner of my site, and since I had some extra funds laying around, I paid the fee last year.

This year, KY has reduced its state permit fee to $100 – but it is still $75-100 more than most states.  This year, I don’t have a lot of extra cash laying around, and  I have to think about the long-term cost of this, year after year.  Just not feasible for me.  It becomes a matter of principle too – I don’t shop at stores that over-charge for products, so why should I have to do it here?  At some point you have to just say no more.

SO – no, there won’t be any more banding unless I win the lottery (in which case,  I probably would set this particular principle aside haha), or KY does away with  or reduces the state permit fee to $25.

It’s a shame really – this was a promising site and much good data could have come from this research, but oh well.  I will continue to observe and monitor and report.  It’s a little discouraging.  But my federal permit is good for years yet, and so I’ll just tuck the nets away, store my equipment, and wait and see.  The fee was reduced this year, so maybe it will change again in the future.


2010 in review – Who Knew?

I received this summary from WP today – just about the time I was considering what to do with this blog.  I figured it was time for a New Year’s resolution to either continue or quit – and had decided that since I’d come this far, I’d rather continue than start again.  Admittedly, it’s been a difficult year, and there are more changes on the horizon – albeit good ones – so I’m not going to make any excuses for not blogging often and not following through on best intentions here.  But it IS a new year and a great time to regroup and move forward.  If I received good marks for a blog I pretty much abandoned for the year, what would happen if I got back into blogging regularly?  Anyway – Happy New Year to everyone.  I hope you have a healthy, happy and prosperous year, even when it starts to get old.  Here’s part of the report from WP:

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.


In 2010, there were 16 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 237 posts. There were 70 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 8mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 26th with 188 views. The most popular post that day was Pretty Birds and the Backcross Warbler.




What I Learned Today

That you don’t watch a documentary on the Kentucky Bigfoot the night before you go banding alone before sunrise in a foggy misty field.  That squirrels cutting walnuts from trees are potentially dangerous monsters.  That howling coyotes and vocalizing barred owls are creepy when it’s dark and foggy.  That you have to have a sense of humor and real dedication to be doing this…or be a little bit nuts.

The day warmed quickly and more birds started moving after the fog lifted.  A new species for me was this lovely yellow-throated vireo.

Also banded a nice hermit thrush, easily separated from other thrushes by the noticeably reddish tail.

The colors are beginning to show and I’m enjoying the changes taking place in the field where I’m banding.  I set up the feeders at home and I’m getting the first regulars – Carolina chickadees, white and red breasted nuthatches, tufted titmice, and red-bellied woodpeckers.  Waiting for the goldfinches.  They are in the fields, but haven’t hit the feeders yet.

Fall Colors

Blogging, Excuses, Life, and Contractors

You know, sometimes you’re just going along having a good time blogging and writing and taking  pictures and networking and then something, or some things happen and Life just gets in the way.  And don’t you hate that excuse?  I sure do, but it’s all I have so I’m sticking to it.  And then one day you realize that folks out there are still finding your blog, still leaving comments, and gee, it was a lot of fun when you wrote every day or a couple of times a week at least…and you say to yourself,  Self, why don’t you take up blogging Natural Notes again?  And so you write a few posts and in spite of all good intentions, you are side-tracked again by numerous goings on until one day you just throw up your hands and say “That’s IT!  I’m blogging again and that’s that!”  And so it is.

So one of my better excuses for not blogging all summer is that we are remodeling our house and it has truly been an interesting experience, to say the least.

This is what is left of our backyard…where we fed the deer last winter is just to the left of the trailer, under that pile of rubble.  Our contractor is a bit messy.  The front yard doesn’t look much better.

We’re pleased with the work so far inside the house – we added 8 feet to the back for the full 50′ length and wrapped the whole thing in hemlock boards, which now need to be chinked before the cold weather sets in. I’ve relocated the bird feeders and we’re hoping the deer will return once all the banging sawing and hammering is over.  Should be done in the next two weeks or so.  They say.

In other news, although running a bit late as usual, the banding lanes were cut yesterday and the nets are going up.  Rained out this morning, but we’ll see what the weather has in mind for tomorrow.   I should finish getting set up and be banding by the weekend.

And of course, I will probably be refreshing this site a bit, and making time to visit the blogs I enjoy reading.  No, really.

Feathered Friday


Spring Banding Notes

Most of my posts concerning banding are now on the banding station site, which is dedicated strictly to banding.  Visit

Spring banding is officially over and I think I’ve said this is past seasons – it seemed a bit strange, sort of a non-event.  I much prefer fall, when migration seems more urgent and more focused.

In the spring, the birds are moving from warm weather to warm weather.  It’s like they’re saying, “yeah, maybe we’ll head north for the summer and have a couple of kids, what do you say?” but in the fall, facing the oncoming winter,  it’s “we’ve got to get out of here or we’re all gonna DIE!”

Anyway, given the number of days I banded, I suppose totals for this first season could have been worse.  81 new birds banded of 23 species.  Again, details and species list are on the Cave Creek Station site.

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