Portraits of pretty birds


I recently had the pleasure of spending a couple of days in the field with my friend Greg and the sole purpose of mist-netting and banding a variety of birds.  I took Greg to one of my local study sites – riparian woodland in cross timbers oak forest at Lake Carl Blackwell – and another site where I spend most of field time – my backyard in suburban Stillwater.  We did well: with only two, 6m nets open at any given time, we caught 16 individuals of 9 species.  (I lured them in with broadcast song, of course.) An “active weather pattern” (euphemism for “tornadoes possible at any time”) restricted our time to just about 6 hours total with open nets, so I was delighted to catch so many birds in that limited time.  I was less delighted with the 125 or so ticks that took up residence on my person, but vigilant monitoring of my pants and a liberal application of duct tape kept them at bay.

Here are a few nice portraits of some of the birds we caught, for no other purpose than your enjoyment!

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Carolina Chickadee

Carolina Chickadee

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Of all the birds we tried to catch, we really only missed White-eyed Vireo and Great Crested Flycatcher.  The easiest was that sparrow.  I hadn’t seen or heard one in the yard that morning, so I was thinking that it might take a while to lure one in.  To my surprise, that bird hit the net by the first few notes of “Old Sam Peabod–“.  What a sucker for a song!

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