Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Purple Martins growing by the minute

The Purple Martins at Gazebo Phil's are growing larger by the minute. They fill up much of the gourd and the camera space at this point. They are going to get to enjoy having our company tomorrow as Connecticut Audubon Society will join the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Gazebo Phil at his gourd trees to band all of the Purple Martin chicks. They will place a silver federal band with a unique number on each bird as well as color bands to identify individual birds from a distance. These bands are so exceptionally light that the birds will not even feel them on their legs. No part of this process will hurt the chicks. Banding will give us valuable information about the young birds and hopefully allow them to be spotted and identified, due to their unique color combinations, during migration or back here next spring.

Banding was completed last year to perfection, with no birds harmed or even disturbed in any significant way. CT DEEP staff will set up something similar to an assembly line. There will be someone retrieving the birds from the gourds, someone aging chicks, another person weighing the birds, a couple of banders placing the different band types on, someone bringing the birds back home, and more. We will be able to update you all with how many adults and chicks are present at the conclusion of banding. Do not worry about the adults, either. They may be a little upset that we are hanging out at their homes for a while, but they will instantly go back to feeding the chicks once we finish, and the work will be done in a flash. This is a regular process completely annually across the state. We cannot wait to see how many chicks we band - given that last year's total was 185, how many do you think we will end up with?

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

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