After peeling yourself out of bed in the pitch black of pre-dawn in deliberate disobedience of your circadian rhythm, you wander through the dark to the bathroom where you reluctantly flip on the light and stand blinking into the mirror with owl sized pupils. You go through the motions of getting yourself dressed, quiet as a mouse so as not to wake your sleeping significant other. Finally you creep to the kitchen to adeptly pour coffee into your thermos without spilling a single precious drop even though the light from the east is still woefully dim.
When you get to the preserve, it is near dawn. The air is fresh, and the trees are alive with tinkling chip notes of migrant birds. As you get to work setting the nets in the hedgerows, you take comfort in the sound of an Eastern Screech Owl singing its haunting song down in the lower woods. You smile as the familiar catbird belts out its harsh petition for the sun to rise now. Above you, a rainbow stretches from one lavender cloud to the next and now you remember what it means to be a part of nature.
Billions of birds now have their sights set somewhere over that rainbow as they travel south by starlight. Our bird banding operation at Rushton Woods helps us monitor which migrants are using our specially managed preserve, understand how long they spend here preparing and fueling up for the journey, learn about populations and lifespans, and study their movements.
This fall has been excellent so far with a catch most days of 90-100 birds despite the warm weather we’ve been experiencing. Some highlights have included Connecticut Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Nashville Warbler, and Worm-eating Warbler. Some of the most abundant species include Gray Catbird and American Goldfinch.
Songbird Banding Open House is Tomorrow Morning (9/14) from 7-10:30 am at Rushton Woods Preserve
Come on out to observe our bird banding, see incredible migratory birds up close, and chat with field scientists.
There’s a lot going on in the woods,