Wednesday, November 25, 2009

#2650 59455

A beautiful Blackpoll Warbler from this past spring at Magee Marsh.

So what's in a number you ask. Especially that number at the top of my post... I'll tell you that it was a very important number and indeed, it was a milestone number for Black Swamp Bird Observatory.

That number is the band number placed on the leg of a very long distance traveler from Canada on October 3rd. A very special Blackpoll Warbler on his way to the Andes in South America for winter vacation. Imagine the trip this little bird takes, not once but twice in a year's time. What makes this particular Blackpoll a special bird is the fact that he was the 500,000th bird banded by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory!

Julie and Mark Shieldcastle and Kim Kaufman, with the help of many volunteers, spend countless hours in all types of weather completing research on our feathered friends that migrate through our area as well as the regulars that live out here in the Magee Marsh-Ottawa area.

From spring through fall, they go out just about every morning to put up mist nets, and check on them throughout the day. When they find someone in the nets, they remove them quickly, take detailed measurements and finally give them a little bling to take on their travels. Sometimes they end up in another researchers nets and are recorded again and the info sent back to BSBO.

500,000. That's a lot of bands...

It's an amazing job and an amazing milestone that our friends do. Thank you!

Kim has another Blackpoll Warbler in all of its fall finery.

There's more than just bird banding going on with Julie!
Teaching our young people the importance of birds and getting them excited(like this little one!) is a big part of her job.

Mark has a tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet to band.
It's wonderful to watch how delicately they handle these little guys.

Getting young people excited about nature is only one of Kim's tremendous talents!
She is the founder of the Ohio Young Birders Club which has been copied all over the country!
This is what a real Wild Turkey looks like...being followed by a parade of goblets...that's what they're called you know!
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends!


  1. Hi Dave,
    That is an incredible story and a fantastic one.. Well illustrated too with superb pictures.
    I've only ringed flamingo and I cannot imagine how different it is to ring this small birds ;-)

  2. Hi Dave; We are BC Nature in British Columbia and we publish an educational magazine for our members. We do 3 bird blitz's a year and for one of them we are looking to use a photograph of a Black Poll Warbler. We wondered if we could use your photograph of this bird and we would of course give you credit. If you could email us @ with your approval (or not), we appreciate it very much!