Thursday June 27, 2013:  Today, Emily and I headed down to Baker Park in Canandaigua to participate in their “Animal Exploration” summer day camp.  The day camp supports Bridges for Brain Injury, a local organization that raises awareness of and provides services to people affected by brain injuries.  Today, thirty children between the ages of 6 and 12 were at the camp, and they were treated to a walk through the woods to see the nets, close-up views of birds in the hand, and the always-popular kid-friendly “beanie baby net.”  The kids were fantastic, and asked many excellent questions such as “why do people band birds?” and “do the bands ever get too small for the birds?” and “Do birds remember where their nests are?”.

Emily bands a Cardinal as eager campers look on.

Emily bands a Cardinal as eager campers look on.

We set opened five nets at 9:30 and closed them at 11:30, and captured a total of 7 birds . . . one adult American Robin, four juvenile Robins, and two male Northern Cardinals.  While these birds may not be terribly exciting for banders or for birders in NY, they were great for the kids.  They see these birds in their yards, but it is a completely different experience to see them up close, and in some ways I think it is more meaningful to the kids.  Emily and I were really hoping we’d catch one of the four woodpecker species we heard (including a Pileated that sat just  a few feet from a net, flew toward it and then veered off as we watched!), but overall we counted the day a success.  Andrea Patterson