Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Friday, May 27, 2016

Birds in Hand, Manomet, Inc., Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

How and why does one hold a beautiful Magnolia Warbler in one's hand? Quite simply, to attach a small identification band to its leg to gather data about migratory patterns of birds. (And only trained and licensed banders/scientists are permitted to do it).

At right above, Senior Landbird Scientist, Trevor Lloyd-Evans, has directed the migratory bird banding program here for more than 40 years. Here he is explaining the bird banding process and science behind the program to a group of visitors from the Plymouth Digital Photographers Club. Over the many years, in addition to being a leading world bird expert and scientist, he has served as a mentor to countless interns, volunteers, visitors, and school children (including my own son).

Manomet, Inc. is a non-profit research organization which was originally founded as the "Manomet Bird Observatory" in 1969 and was subsequently named the "Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences" until recently when it adopted the new name of "Manomet, Inc." As you can tell from the image above, the facility enjoys a prime spot near Stage Point to maximize the likelihood of capturing, gathering data, and releasing migratory birds after banding.

A bander/scientist examines the wing of a Gray Catbird in the banding laboratory.

After data collection, this catbird is about to be released.

Be free!

A beautiful little Magnolia Warbler.

In this image, you can see the tiny aluminum band around the leg of the warbler. The band contains a unique identification number for this particular bird. If/when this bird is found elsewhere, migratory information can be gained by comparing locations.

A cardinal with his band visible. Bands come in different sizes for different sized birds.

The cardinal, known among banders for their strong beak and painful bite, flutters and flaps trying to be free of the human grip.

A Magnolia Warbler about to be released.

For this release, the bander/scientist gently lays the warbler on his back in the palm of his hand.......

..... then fluttering and flapping, the bird turns over to right himself.......

....gets his bearings.......

....and is airborne in an instant.  (The actual sequence takes place in a split second).

Another Magnolia Warbler release sequence......

.......I was particularly lucky this time......

..... in freezing the moment of freedom.  Usually, the following image is what I get when trying to photograph the critical moment......

.......hands full of air - because the bird has already disappeared out of the picture frame.