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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Conservation Field Camp 2011: Mist netting

One of the required courses for our Conservation students at Finger Lakes Community College is Conservation Field Camp (CON 190). Field Camp is held at Cutler Boy Scout Camp in South Bristol, NY. This year, we had about 110 students that rotated through four different days of activities: Aquatics, Forest Ecology, Wildlife and Forest Products. As part of the "Wildlife" faculty,  I spent the week catching small mammals in Sherman traps, mist netting for birds and calculating our capture effort using camera traps. This coming week, I will present the highlights.

Mist netting at Camp is more of a demonstration than anything else. I set out two 10 meter nets for about an hour. I average about two to three birds per day, just enough to show the students how this is done. We band the birds, micro age them and check for brood patches and cloacal protuberances. This year, I tried a new location at Camp, amidst some good brush. I caught American Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Song Sparrow and Chestnut-sided Warbler.

Baltimore Oriole, South Bristol, NY
(5/11, Photo by Erin Lord)
Baltimore Oriole: Here is a nice male oriole. He had a fully protruding cloaca, telling me that he was in breeding condition. I am holding the bird in what is called the photographer's grip here to show off his plumage to the students. I aged him as an SY (Second Year) male due to the incomplete molt of his tail feathers. Birds are powerful. They are dynamic and, like this one, can be beautiful works of art. When banding for an audience, I never forget that I may be the one talking, but the bird is the real star.

Baltimore Oriole, South Bristol, NY
(5/11, Photo by Erin Lord)

Next post, I will explain more about the mist netting process. For now, enjoy the photos from one of the wildlife techs for Field Camp, Erin Lord.

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