Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah 2014

June 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Events

As the name suggests, this event focuses on hummingbirds, which are found in large numbers at this time of the year. The Henderson Hummingbird Hurrah includes garden tours, banding demonstrations, speakers, book signing sessions and a host of children’s activities. For more information visit www.hendersonhummingbirdhurrah.com

Date: 16 August 2014
Venue: Bender Park, 200 North Third Street
City: Henderson
State: Minnesota
Country: United States

Bird Tracking Technology

November 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Various methods of marking birds for identification are believed to go back as far as Roman times and this was generally done to indicate ownership. The first person to ring birds for scientific purposes was Danish ornithologist Hans Christian Cornelius Mortensen (1856-1921) who put aluminum rings marked with unique numbers and an address, first on the legs of European Starlings, and later on storks, herons, gulls and ducks, with the intention of tracking their movements. The first organized banding scheme was established at the Rossitten Bird Observatory by German ornithologist Johannes Thienemann in 1903.

Since those early days bird banding has been invaluable in gathering data for conservation and scientific purposes. But banding has its limitations, as once birds are set free they are very often only identified again when found injured or dead, and then only if the person finding the bird takes the time and trouble to report it. At best, bird banding provides only a few pieces of the puzzle of bird migration and behavior. However, rapidly advancing technology has opened up new avenues of tracking birds, with the most promising being satellite telemetry, which provides information immediately.

In 2005, satellite telemetry was used by the Wildlife Research Institute (WRI) and the United States Forest Service (USFS) to track Southern California’s Golden Eagles, and this was later expanded to include Montana. Tiny transmitters are attached to the birds and their signals are tracked by satellites no matter where they may travel. Working in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the WRI received data via the internet enabling researchers to determine exactly where the eagles have been and when. The information is so detailed that it can be determined how high the eagles flew, and how fast they were flying. In the event of an eagle not moving, it’s location can be pinpointed and the bird rescued if injured, or recovered if dead.

As plans for alternative energy sources in the form of wind and solar farms move ahead in California, data on migration, nesting and hunting patterns of Golden Eagles will be invaluable in ensuring the survival of this already endangered species. On a wider scale, the cost and availability of satellite telemetry is an obstacle that may be difficult to overcome, particularly in developing nations, and so bird banding remains an important activity for conservationists.

Kèköldi Bird Conservation and Monitoring Program

June 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

The Kèköldi Bird Conservation and Monitoring Program is looking for volunteers and a coordinator (requires experience) to join their study site from 1 August to 1 December 2011. The site is at Kèköldi Indigenous Reserve on the Talamanca region of Costa Rica, between Puerto Viejo and Cahuita National Park, Limon Province. The reserve consists of primary and secondary forests, as well as cocoa plantations, with more than 330 bird species, including 19 species of hummingbirds. The program is a long-term and a great opportunity for students who wish to build their resume. Biologists, bird banders and bird watchers can help make a difference to bird conservation through science.

Volunteers should be physically fit and willing to work long hours, maintaining enthusiasm and a sense of humor. They will be required to work in a team and some knowledge of Spanish would be beneficial.

The program offers training on bird identification, constant effort mist-netting, bird banding techniques and so forth. Volunteer duties will include assisting official banders, banding birds, data entry and more.

The volunteer fee is $1300 for the first month and $300 for each additional month. The fee includes all meals, lodging at the scientific center, and training.
For additional information, please contact: Daniel Martinez A. daniel@kekoldicr.org. Cell phone : (506) 8858-2689

Dates: 1 August to 1 December 2011
Location: Kèköldi Indigenous Reserve
Country: Costa Rica

Raising a Chick at the Age of Sixty

March 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Pet Birds

Wisdom’s first band was placed on her while incubating an egg in the year 1956, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been keeping an eye on her ever since. To be able to breed, a Laysan Albatross needs to be five years old, which now puts her age at an estimated sixty years. Wisdom is a celebrity of the North American Bird Banding Program, as she is the oldest bird on their records since the project was initiated ninety years ago. Now she is raising another chick, which brings her total number of chicks raised during her lifetime to approximately thirty to thirty-five. What is even more amazing, is the fact that these birds mate for life, meaning that her partner is either still accompanying her on her journey or she has outlived him.

The albatross has a long history with mankind, with sailors believing that each albatross was the soul of a lost sailor and thus they were extremely opposed to these birds being killed. The relationship between birds and humans might have changed somewhat, but they are still being studied and protected.

Not only is the new chick that Wisdom is raising a wonderful landmark event, but she has been a great source of information for researchers and scientists. Her estimated age is determined by the life cycle that the Laysan Albatross follows. Parents will raise a chick for an entire year, and once the chick is fledged, it heads out to sea for time period of between three to five years. These amazing birds will not touch ground during this time and are even able to take a small nap while they are flying. Due to these birds traveling a distance of around fifty thousand miles in a year, Wisdom has traveled an estimated two or three million miles already. She has most definitely used her wisdom to survive all these years.

Bruce Peterjohn could not be prouder of Wisdom, and as the North American Bird Banding Program chief, he was able to confirm that the second oldest Laysan Albatross that was recorded by the project was banded as a chick and lived to forty-two years and five months. And while Wisdom silently sits with her chick and continues on her journey, still looking fit and healthy, she has no idea what a stir she has caused amongst the humans who have been following her life and how proud and excited they are for her.

2011 Spring Banding Session

February 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

Taking place at Fort Mogan State Historical Park, along the Alabama Gulf Coast, banding will begin before dowan and end mid-afternoon. This area is an important stopover for migratory birds returning from South and Central America. Banding is free, with admission to the fort costing $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for children of 6 to 12, and free for children under 6.

Date: 2 to 14 April 2011
Venue: Fort Morgan State Historical Park
State: Alabama
Country: United States of America

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