Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kiptopeke State Park, Virginia

We went out to Virginia's eastern shore to Kiptopeke State Park for a couple of days. Birds were plentiful, but most of them were yellow-rumped warblers.

Definitely not a yellow-rumped warbler!

Warblers and other assorted birds that we saw at the park.

The bird banding station was fascinating. They had banded mostly yellow-rumped warblers for the past few days, and Wednesday was nothing new.....a lot of "butter-butts."

They checked the nets every 45 minutes. The birds were brought back to the station in bags, and were banded, weighed, measured, and checked for general condition and body fat. (He blew the feathers the "wrong way" in order to see how much body fat the bird was carrying.) They were then released; it makes your heart soar away with them to see them fly off. They have a hard trip ahead.
Yellow-rumped Warblers

Grasshopper Sparrow - The banders were excited over this little guy. He was really fat, 20gm, compared to the average 13 gm for his species.
Blue-headed Warbler
This was my favorite of the day - he was so smooth and sweet.

There is a hawk observatory at the park, too. They count hawks and also participate in the banding.


Bird Girl said...

What an interesting post - thanks so much! The 'butter butts' are darling and I've never seen the blue headed vireo - beautiful - and your pictures were perfect!
Those people are brave - banding a sharpie without gloves! My hubby is a falconer and I KNOW the damage a beak or talon can do!

Bird Girl said...

P.S. that sharpie portrait is spectacular and 'sharp' as his name!