Monday, April 6, 2009

Banding Red-throated Loons

With the long days and warm sunshine, we now have 15 hours, one knows that winter is about over and the return of the Arctic nesting birds is not far away. We are expecting our first snow bunting any day now as reports have them moving off winter areas in western Alaska.

Thinking about the return of the birds brought back memories of a banding experience I had with two of my boys Isaac and Aaron while banding red-throated loons ten years ago. Isaac had raised two geese ( a White-fronted and a Canada) over the summer, and they had the run of the place and followed him about when he was out side. Towards the end of August we loaded up our banding gear and nets and headed out into the local nesting ponds to catch and band young loons. We had about 20 broods of red-throated loons that year in the smaller ponds that surround the largest lake on the island we live on. We used the nets to skim the young loons out of the ponds, while nearly full grown they were still not capable of flight.

Isaac's geese came right along with us and helped in all phases of the banding operation. Swimming along behind the net as it was moved across the ponds, and then settling down next to us and we processed the birds. At times picking at the netting and banding gear. I have posted a few pictures from that banding day, but hopefully I will have more current bird pictures to put up shortly.

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Arctic Smoke Signals by James W. Helmericks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.