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Summer Bander Training Class – seven students, several hundred birds, and one awesome time!

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August 18, 2013.  BBBO launched its newest educational initiative this summer, holding its first ever Summer Bander Training Course.   The six registered students came from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New York, and they were joined by our summer intern from Ohio.

Danica, Jessica, Nichole, Robert, Pam, Amy, and Megan.

Danica, Jessica, Nicki, Bob, Pam, Amy, and Megan.

During their 7 days at Braddock Bay, these students were challenged to learn the basics of passerine banding including net-picking, banding, aging and sexing.  They learned to use Pyle, to age birds by skull and molt limit, and to recognize brood patches.  They learned to set up a station, discussed ethics and the scientific basis for banding, and took three written exams (plus a field test) to demonstrate what they had learned.  And somehow, in between, they found time to enjoy each other’s company.  (Personally, I think I should have stayed at the house with them.  Their dinners sounded AMAZING!).

Megan and Nicki's first day of banding

Megan and Nicki’s first day of banding

Amy and Pam try to figure out how to manage a wiggly bird, a tiny band, and a pliers all at the same time.

Amy and Pam try to figure out how to manage a wiggly bird, a tiny band, and a pliers all at the same time.

Katie observes as Nicki tries to identify a Song Sparrow, while Gayle supervises Bob as he bands a Gray Catbird

Katie observes as Nicki tries to identify a Song Sparrow, while Gayle supervises Bob as he bands a Gray Catbird

Amy gives data to the scribe, Megan tries to identify a Common Yellowthroat, and Danica checks to see if a band is properly closed

Amy gives data to the scribe, Megan tries to identify a Common Yellowthroat, and Danica checks to see if a band is properly closed

Thanks much to all the fantastic volunteers who helped to make this week a success!  Claire, Virginia, Jenna, Gayle, Katie, Ann, Sue, Leanna, Pat (who turned student in the afternoons!), Tom, and Aggie gave their time and talent to nurture these new banders, and Barb, John, Gayle and Pat generously loaned us fans to help keep us cool.

It was a great week overall!

Teen Camp a Success!

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Sunday, August 18.  BBBO held its second Teen Bander Camp this summer in early July.  While we lacked the number of students we were hoping for, the students we had were fantastic!!!  Jessica (our summer intern from Ohio) and Martha (a student from the Honeoye Falls area) learned the basics of banding, measuring, aging, and sexing birds as well as the difficult skill of removing birds from mist nets.  While they performed well the first four days of camp, their mettle was tested the fifth day when the two of them, plus Andrea and Emily, managed to safely and efficiently process approximately 100 birds!   They did a remarkable job, and we’d be happy to see either student back in our lab.

Jessica and Martha

Jessica and Martha

Jessica and Martha did a fantastic job learning to band in just 5 days.

Jessica and Martha did a fantastic job learning to band in just 5 days.

Using Birds to Build Bridges

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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

PAT’S ALWAYS WINNING WREATH

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Once again, Pat Lovallo created a wreath for display and auction at the Eastman House in November.

Another Beautiful Wreath Created by PatPhoto by Ryan Kayhart

Another Beautiful Wreath Created by Pat
Photo by Ryan Kayhart

2012 Holiday Wreath Designed by Pat LovalloPhoto by Ryan Kayhart

2012 Holiday Wreath Designed by Pat Lovallo
Photo by Ryan Kayhart

Spring 2012 Education Events

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At the 7th ANNUAL COOL KIDS! ECOFEST held Saturday, April 14, 2012 at Genesee Community College representing BBBO, Pat Lovallo operated a display table and interacted with attendees to bring awareness of our organization and the work we do.   The ECOFEST is a very big and well attended nature festival and it is the second time BBBO has participated in it.

On April 21 and 22 of 2012 she also manned and presented our traveling education displays at the Braddock Bay Raptor Research BIRD OF PREY DAYS festival.   Our participation has been a yearly event for at least the past decade.

On May 18, 2012 BBBO was invited to be a guest science presenters at Rochester’s Charles T. Lunsford School 19’s DISCOVERY THROUGH SCIENCE DAY where several classes of 4th and 5th graders were scheduled one at a time for our BBBO presentation.   It was a successful and rewarding experience with the students responding well and asking very thoughtful questions.  This is the third time that BBBO has participated in this annual school event.  Pat Lovallo

Teen Banding Class Comes to an End

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The first Teen Bander Training Class has come to an end!  Collectively, the girls banded 71 new birds and processed 21 recaptures, including Blue-winged Warblers, American Redstarts, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Traill’s Flycatchers, American Goldfinches, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-eyed Vireos, Warbling Vireos, Swamp Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Cedar Waxwings, Downy Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmice, Gray Catbirds, and American Robins.  They net-picked around 125 birds, scribed for each other, and learned the basics of aging and sexing birds (including how to use Peter Pyle’s identification guide!).  All eight girls show remarkable promise, and we suspect we’ll see several of them at our station this fall as volunteers.

Emily and I would like to thank Tom, Kathy, Cindy, Chita, Gayle, and Ann for helping us this week.  We could not have done this without you, and we are so grateful you gave up a morning or two (or three!) to nurture the next generation of banders.

Thanks to everyone!

By the way – we believe yesterday’s mystery warbler was a Cape May.  We were able to determine it was a hatch year (juvenile) bird based on a partly pneumatized skull.  While the yellow feet initially had us thinking Blackpoll, we ruled it out based on the weak wing bars and the strong streaking on the breast.  None of the other juvenile warblers looked quite right for this bird, and the hint of yellow going up the neck sold us on Cape May.  Careful reading of both Peter Pyle and the Peterson Warbler guide lent support to our ID.  It’s an unusual sighting in Rochester at this time of year, and it was great for the kids to see that even the grown-ups have to think carefully, consult reference books, and ask each other for help.

Quiz Bird Stumps the Teen Banding Class!

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I’m not quite certain why anyone tries to predict the weather in Rochester.  When I woke up at 4:00 Thursday morning and checked the radar and weather forecast, I was certain the entire day would be a washout.  Nevertheless, we headed up to Braddock Bay because we had told the students class would go on, rain or shine.  BBBO must be located inside some sort of weather bubble, because our entire day was rain-free.  While we didn’t get an overwhelming number of birds, we got enough to keep our young banders busy.  Pictures will best tell the story.

For the first time this week, there were birds for all!

The students continued net-picking, scribing, and banding.

Brenna measures the wing of a Red-eyed Vireo

Anna skulls a Common Yellowthroat

Cici prepares to band a Tufted Titmouse.

Emily quizzes Bethany, who uses the field guide to correctly identify a Warbling Vireo (as did all the students!).

And then . . . we got an unfamiliar bird.

Bella extracts our Quiz Bird

Emily is stumped! (So is everyone else.)

Here are two views of the bird . . .

Quiz bird!

Quiz bird!

I’ll tell you tomorrow what we think it is.  Any guesses?

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