Saturday, February 09, 2008

Many happy returns!

Well, OK, just one return. And I'm sure the returnee wasn't very happy. But for a bird bander, a return from somewhere other than one's own banding stations is a true treasure.

In my 30 years of being associated with banding, I have had only 4 instances where either I recaptured a bird banded by someone else (1) or had someone else find a bird I had banded (3). That's out of about 12,000 banded birds in those years (by either me or my mentor Kathy Heidel), which is few compared to some locations dedicated to bird research (I am still a hobbyist while the full-time job beckons).

Back on October 1, 2005, during a public program at Ritter Farm Park in Lakeville, MN, I banded a Slate-colored Junco (Junco hyemalis) with band 2370-29389. At that time, this bird was found to be a female (by coloration, molt and wing measurement) that had hatched that summer.

On December 22, 2007, this bird was (unfortunately) found dead (probably a window kill). The finder noticed the band and reported it via the available toll-free number (1-800-327-BAND) to the Bird Banding Laboratory in Patuxent, MD.

It was found in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Thank you for finding and reporting it, Shelly!

It is these moments that are more exciting (but far less lucrative) than the lottery. For who knows when and where, if ever, the next return will be?

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