The American Robin: My Least Favorite Bird

This piece was first published in In The Air, a column I wrote for Montana Woman Magazine. September 2017. 

A young American Robin held in the hand of a bird biologist.

A young robin. Don’t be fooled, it’s just waiting to poo all over.

Of all the birds I’ve handled, robins are my least favorite.

Over the years working as a field biologist, primarily capturing live songbirds for migration and breeding studies, I’ve handled many birds. To catch birds, we set up nets, called mist nets, which the birds fly into and become caught. We then untangle them and record a bunch of measurements, such as age, sex, and weight, put a uniquely-numbered metal identification band on the bird’s leg, and release them unharmed. Continue reading

“Why Read a Book?”

Two of my pleasures, in one poem: reading and looking at birds. Oh man. Not sure I’d always choose birds over books, but on these beautiful fall days, when the sun is warm and the birds are migrating (and especially when I have the chance to get outside and band them), birds definitely win out. Though I do love to lose myself in the words of others, it’s hard to ignore the amazing poetry flying overhead and all around. Continue reading

Bird Banding Selfies

Bird Banders in the News Again!

20140728_091412-3 (Copy)

We caught a kingfisher! And I got to hold it! This is serious stuff. Hence the serious expression on my face.

Last week we had a group from the Martin Meylin Middle School (which is located somewhere in Pennsylvania) visit the banding station. They were such a great group! They were very engaged, and asked great questions. Continue reading