baby bird

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“Mmmuah!” [note: turn on sound]

If there’s a single most important part of processing the bird, it’s making sure to get it banded. This red-headed woodpecker is rocking his size 2 USGS federal band as well as three color bands so I can identify and study him from a distance without capturing him again.

It’s important to collect all of your data swiftly, grab photo documentation, and get the bird back to the wild, but what if the animal is stressed and there isn’t time? Just band it. Adding a unique marker means you can get all the data you need later, when the bird is feeling better.

One of the most important parts of being a good field biologist is respecting and closely monitoring the wellbeing of your animals! I only pause for photos and video on healthy birds, and make sure to constantly check for signs of stress (puffing, eye closing, reduced activity).

This sweet baby was in the middle of the road near my university. He was just sitting here so I wasn’t sure if he was injured or dead. When I stepped near him, he didn’t even flinch but when I took a closer look, I saw that he was sitting up and had his eyes open. So I very carefully picked him up - he did move around uncomfortably and I made sure to keep my hands open enough for him to fly away if he wanted. I brought him to a tree and opened my hands completely he hopped onto my hand and just sat like that for a moment or two before flying up to a branch. I felt like I made a friend. :)