Banding Soon

Friday afternoon when my cell rang, I saw it was "Eagle One" (aka Boss).  Knowing that he only calls for something important, I put the phone up to my ear and said, "Eagle Two here.  What's up, Boss?"

"What are you doing on May 22nd, Eagle Two?  I hope you're free.  Before I could answer in a complete sentence, he went on to say, "We have a date.  We're banding your chick.  Brian emailed me today and I'll see him Tuesday to firm it all up.  If anything changes, I'll let you know."

What a way to start my weekend.  I was so excited that Brian (CT DEEP/Division of Wildlife) had decided to band at my nest this year in addition to other locations.  Needless to say, I have been on cloud nine ever since the call. 

The chick should be about 5-6 weeks old by then, although after taking specific measurements (of it's weight, thickness of the beak, length of the foot pad, length and width of middle tarsus) the age and sex will be determined.  All measurements are plotted on a graph, determining the bird's sex.  The formula, developed by Gary Bortolotti (in 1984), determined that these body parts appeared to reach maturity while the birds were still nestlings.  I've probably told you this before but the female is 30% larger than the male and the middle toe of the female is much longer than that of a male.

Banding is something that I find very interesting  The bird is lowered to the ground in a huge bag where a team will take all measurements I mentioned above.  Then it is banded...a silver pre-numbered Federal band on the right leg and a state pre-numbered band on it's left.  It is then hoisted back up to it's nest.  The entire process takes about ten minutes! 

During the banding process, an adult usually circles high above sounding it's alert.  When we're done, usually as we pack up the gear, the adult will return to the nest and life returns to normal.

There is no risk of abandonment on the part of the adults nor oft them being aggressive toward the chick or us.

just seeing, saying, and sharing...

Banding Soon

with you and those at


The banding sounds exciting. I hope you post photos from that.
Hootin' Anni said…
I love how you shared how they band 'em. Just your few previous posts, I've learned SO much!

Thanks for sharing your knowledge & photos with us at I'd Rather B Birdin'
it must be amazing to be involved in banding such a magnificent bird

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