Aug. 18th, 2012

lex: (Default)
This day's been reasonably quiet. We had another flush of baby catbirds in the morning, but by mid-morning we had a few runs of 0 birds. Perfect time to actually explain what I'm doing.

I'm not a bander, but rather a band-aide. (Yes, yes, beautiful pun.) We set up the mist nets, a very fine mesh arrancged in long pockets. The bird flies into the net and falls into the pocket. They get a bit tangled (some more than others) so we carefully extract them. I had to learn several grips so I could hold them without hurting them, and the actual process of removing the bird from the net is pretty darn fiddly. I can't take pictures of it because PETA flips out even though the birds' safety is the absolute top priority. We check the nets for birds every 20 minutes unless conditions are such that it would stress or endanger the birds to be left that long, in which case we shorten the timing. Yes, we even band through meal times! When there's enough people we eat in shifts. The second shift gets shafted though, there's not often much food left at that point. The nets open at dawn and close at dusk. At this time of year, that means getting up at 5am and going to bed at 9pm. In the spring, the hours are much longer and the banders generally get 3-4 hours of sleep a night. As you can imagine, things get a bit crazy around here. I'm in the process of making a tail from gull feathers to shoo flies away from my ankles. That's just normal around here.

Anyway, Liz left around 3pm for a family emergency. It will just be Lindsay and I for several days, which makes mealtimes even trickier than usual, since I can't band. Dinner worked out well since we had a quiet evening with few birds. I called her back due to a dragonfly in the net, though. That story does not end well. ) In happier news, almost every time I went out I came back with a new species for the season. American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Canada Warbler, even a Blue-winged Warbler! We've had Red-breasted Nutchatches, a Carolina Wren, a Northern Cardinal... So many beautiful birds. I had to make a tough call on a Common Yellowthroat though - it was wrapped up so badly I could barely tell which side of the net it was on. I gave myself about fifteen seconds to figure it out and then called Lindsay. It even took her a bit, and I watched the whole procedure and there was absolutely no way I could have gotten that bird out safely. I'm glad to know my limits, though.

Tomorrow I get to shower! I don't know when, though. Kiiiinda busy. I might have to make it a 9:30pm shower, because I really think a 5am shower is out of the question. XD

Physically, I am doing waaaay better than I expected. The last time I was out here, I was a wreck by the second day. Hurting all over, intensely. Heart exploding when I went up the hill. I still need to pause halfway to catch my breath, but I find myself ready to go for every net run. I'm not as starving as I was last time, either. I think it honestly might be the Metformin kicking my body into actually getting energy from my food. Not complaining! XD

Picture time! )