Adult banding week 2017

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The team, from left: Sury Matos, Sarah Courchesne, Tracy Waldron, Yexis Hechavarria, Mary Everett, Amisha Malhotra, David Mesta (back), Jane Wing, Luis Robles

Last week, a team of community college students, summer gull interns, a songbird bander and gull enthusiast, and a public librarian assembled on Appledore for adult banding week. The weather was sideways rain and battering wind for a day and a half, so we got off to a slow start, but by the end of the week, we had captured, bled, and banded 23 birds, and had swept the entire island for any banded birds and tagged and GPSed their nests as well.

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Tracy, Sury, Mary, and Jane at work

Rather than band any old bird at hand, we tried this year to focus on getting mated pairs banded. This allows us to do a better job in the future tracking things like mate and nest site fidelity, individual breeding success, and also the success of the offspring of each pair. We managed to get 27 banded pairs by the end of the week, and were quite pleased.

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Yexis takes a break from gull work to release a songbird with the aid of Peg Ackerson

As always, the purpose of banding, at least for me, is always two-fold: data collection, and education. None of the Northern Essex Community College students who came out with us this May had ever had an experience like this, and they returned home, heads brimming with ornithological and ecological knowledge gleaned first hand. I can’t think of a better way to measure success.

Hopefully, you will soon be seeing posts from our two summer interns, Amisha Malhotra (University of New England) and David Mesta (Northern Essex Community College). Both graduated last weekend, and are now staring down 10 weeks of life on Appledore. Watch this space for more from them soon.

Finally, our very great thanks to the Verizon Foundation, without whose generous funding my students could not have participated. We couldn’t be more excited about the things we can do because of their support which they have just renewed for a second year. Thank you Verizon!

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