mandojerk  asked:

Hi. I just saw your video about the juvenile red-headed woodpecker and I was curious as to how you were holding him so still? I don't plan on going out and trying to catch birds myself, I just wondered what the technique is. Thanks!

The way I’m holding that bird is in the photographer’s grip, which is illustrated below (illustration is from the NABC Study Guide-- check it out if you want to read more about how bird banders handle their animals). I personally use a modified photographer’s grip where I hold the bird between my middle and ring fingers.

Important to note: the photographer’s grip is not safe to try unless trained and supervised by an experienced bander. It is a very risky way to hold a bird, and if done improperly it can lead to wingstrain, overstressing the animal, and severe injury (like broken legs).

This is also NOT the grip used while we actually band a bird and take measurements. The safest way to hold a wild bird (and the way I hold them most of the time) is in the bander’s grip.