Also known as International Bird Migration Day, or simply Bird Day – the big event is tomorrow, Saturday, May 12. Celebrated in the USA, Mexico, Central America, and Canada, IMBD was created in 1993 by the Smithsonian Institute, in an effort to raise awareness about migratory birds and migration. In some areas the date may vary, but most counts take place on the second Saturday in May.
The day is celebrated in different ways around the country, with most nature centers and environmental organizations hosting educational programs, bird walks, banding demonstrations, and bird-related activities. It’s also the time in the USA when birders head out for the annual Spring Count, which is exactly what it sounds like. Counting all the birds you see and/or hear in a day.
This count takes place throughout the country. A Google search for spring bird count or International Bird Migration Day will lead you to many sources and resources for this event.
Since I’m not banding this year, I’ll be heading out before sunrise with millions of other birders to participate, and I’ll post my list here on Sunday.
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.
It’s been a rough week weatherwise for banding, but I managed a couple of mornings between rain showers and windy conditions. We haven’t seen a lot of warbles, but this morning brought two new ones – this gorgeous chestnut sided warbler, and a Wilson’s warbler.
Ok, sorry about that title. Today was the first really good morning weather-wise for banding, and it turned out to be pretty good for birds, too. That’s always nice.
My new site seems to be favored by yellow-breasted chats – caught five this morning!
These are awesome birds. I also discovered that, since I’m banding out of my Jeep instead of the comfortable banding lab at RRBO, and since everything around me is heavy shrubs and very, very, green – there’s no suitable backdrop for photos! After many failures, I settled for using the Jeep door as a backdrop for this bird, which makes the photo look a little weird..
A couple of chats later, I got the idea to hang a towel from the window, at least giving me a lighter background. Not pretty, but better. So, what I need now is a piece of muslin or some white posterboard or something I can hang from the window (that isn’t full of wrinkles and terrycloth) that will give me a neutral background.
Photographing the birds only takes a moment, as I have the camera set on a tripod and positioned in advance. I’ll be ready tomorrow!