Bird Banding with the Teton Science Schools

So here I am in the Tetons, about to start a three month stint working for the Conservation Research Center of the Teton Science Schools (TSS). I am working with the bird banding crew, and our job is to catch birds at five different sites; three around the town of Jackson, Wyoming, and two in the Grand Teton National Park.

view of the grand_618x374

Our sites are in both developed and undeveloped areas (the ones in downtown Jackson are interesting, as we sometimes get homeless people hanging out in our net lanes). One goal of the project is to see how songbirds respond to different levels of development, by comparing our data from site in the park (which are undeveloped) and those in downtown Jackson (located in the middle of housing developments and surrounded by busy roads). There have been 21 years of banding going on through the TSS, and it’s exciting to be contributing to such long-term research.

I’m still learning about our particular project, but if you follow the link above it will take you to the CRC website, which has a nice little description of our research. I will also be sharing more as the season goes on, so stay tuned!

anya with ssha_464x618

One of our volunteers, Anya, with the male sharp-shinned hawk.

We’re still in training at the moment, but official banding starts on Friday. I’m excited. Our first day is at one of our sites in the park, and Jenny, our boss, has said they typically see the most wildlife at that site, including moose, bison, bear (black and grizzly), and white-tailed deer. But don’t worry Mom, we were all issued bear spray yesterday and trained in its use. I’m hoping never to get close enough to spray down a grizzly, but it’s good to know the spray cannister works.

During our most recent practice banding session, we caught a couple of exciting birds (all birds are exciting, but these were especially so. They also might have been the only ones I remembered to take pictures of…):

First was this male Sharp-shinned Hawk

DSCN6105_618x464

And this older male Lazuli Bunting, who was absolutely gorgeous:

lazuli bunting_613x464

(links in green will take you to more information about these species)

Can’t wait to see what else we catch in our nets this summer!

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