Help Find Colorful Bird Bracelets

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Color-banded Song Sparrow

As with this color-banded Song Sparrow, often one cannot see all of the colors bands at once. This bird is banded orange over aluminum on the bird’s right leg, and the color-bands on the bird’s left leg is obscured. You should still report this bird, even if you do not see the other colors. ©Lori Iverson.

Identifying individual birds and tracking their fate over time offers insight into important details of a bird’s life: how long it lives, where it moves during the year, and how many offspring it rears. VCE’s newest citizen-science project  is testing whether birders can help carry out this kind of important – but difficult – field work. We’ve now banded 7 Gray Catbirds and 9 Song Sparrows at the Union Village Dam Recreation Area in Thetford, Vermont, and we’re asking birders to look for and keep track of any color-banded individuals of either species that they encounter. We’ve prepared two short guides to collecting and submitting your data, and reading and reporting color-banded birds.

We’re also hosting a field workshop this Sunday, June 5th, at 7:00 AM for anyone that would like some guided, in-the-field practice with reading color bands. We’ll spend some time birding and looking for color-banded birds (and entering our observations in Vermont eBird, of course) and perhaps even give a brief demonstration of how we capture and mark birds with leg bands. If you’re interested, meet Chris Rimmer and John Lloyd at the Mystery Trail parking area on Buzzell Bridge Road in the Union Village Dam Recreation Area. The Mystery Trail parking area is roughly 0.9 miles from the intersection between Buzzell Bridge Road and Route 113 in Thetford Center. The workshop will be cancelled in the event of rain.

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