Melissa and I went on the Saturday morning bird walk at the Nature Center hoping to see some birds close up at the banding station. Some early morning ballooners just added to the scenery.
At one point, the sound of a balloon firing startled us just before we were engulfed in shadows.
But on to the birds!
Birds up close!
Steve Cox, the lead bander, brought a number of birds out to show the group before letting them go. He let folks on the walk actually let the birds go. In addition to letting us take pictures and see birds close up, he explained about their migration, how to identify them, and other nuggets of information. For example, we learned that House Finches, native to the southwestern U.S. were released in the northeast due to passage of the Migratory Bird Act which made it illegal to possess. I thought that someone just let them go for fun or a few escaped and started a breeding population.
Melissa got to let the Vesper Sparrow go after Steve made sure we could identify it. Sparrows can be confusing, but they are intricately patterned and beautiful. Vesper Sparrows out of the “streaky” species are one of the easier ones to identify, I think.
This was the only bird that paused for a bit before flying off. It just felt calm in Melissa’s hand, I guess!
Steve showed us Townsend’s Warbler, Western Wood-Pewee, Vesper Sparrow, House Finch, House Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Bewick’s Wren.
This Orange-crowned Warbler looks like the Rocky Mountain subspecies to me with the gray head contrasting with the breast and back. Maybe?
One of these days, I’ll make it to the Nature Center at 6:15 a.m. to help with the banding. When I do, I’ll post more close-up shots of birds.