A great showing of SFN members and general public came out to Canatara Park on April 29th to check out the second year of migratory bird banding at this location with master banders Carl Pascoe and Rachael Powless.
Chilly weather kept the birds inactive at first but once things started to warm up, birds started more actively flitting about and feeding, and the nets started to warm up too! We saw over a dozen birds over the course of the visit that ranged from sparrows to blue jays to warblers. Warbler activity seemed dominated by yellow-rumped (myrtle), western palm, and kinglets. Of special note was a couple of blue-grey gnatcatchers and a blue-winged warbler. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and it was fun watching some of the younger kids passing through and the amazement on their faces as they watched and touched some of the birds up close.
SFN members also had a nice social lunch break and many people also enjoyed walks around the small lake to do some more ‘conventional birding’ with some great species sighted. In a nearby patch of pine trees a very accommodating eastern screech owl stayed put for the day and seemed pretty happy with some photography at a respectful distance.
I was lucky enough to be able to personally volunteer for a handful of days over the 3 weekends that the banding site was open. I was continually impressed by the knowledge that Carl and Rachel brought to the banding process as well as to the visitors who flowed by in trickles and torrents; it seemed like the visitor activity and the bird activity were both very weather-dependent. Their willingness to take time to explain to the public the process and the benefit of banding as well as the care and kindness they showed to the birds was wonderful.