Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Is For the Birds

Lee Johnson, a volunteer at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory, is a wealth of knowledge.  He's been studying birds since 1943. 

Birds are caught in walls of netting, removed from the nets every hour and transported in mesh bags to the banding station nearby.  The birds are then identified, recorded, banded and released.

We witnessed the process at Colored Sands Nature Preserve in Northern Illinois on Saturday.  This is the second consecutive year that we attended the annual Bird Fest.  The red bird in this photo is a Scarlet Tanager.

We saw birds we'd never seen first hand before.

Lee spoke about each bird as it was brought in from the nets.  I could have listened to the interesting information that rolled off his tongue for hours.  He explained that this bird's feathers aren't actually blue.  Refracted light gives the blue color.

Lee told us about birds that fly from Alaska to New Zealand without ever stopping.  He spoke of birds that fly during migration 3,000 miles in one night!  I know it's mind-boggling.

We will return to hear more from Lee next year, over Mother's Day weekend.     


Linda McMann said...

What a great experience! I need to see if that is happening here!

Cheryl aka Shaddy said...

From what Lee said, there aren't too many banding stations in the country. I hope there's one out in your neck of the woods!!

If we see Lee again this year, I'll ask him if there's one near you.