At Chico Basin Ranch, the naturalist is showing a just-banded bird to school children. I'm not sure what variety the bird is, although I believe it is one of the warblers, such as a yellow-throated warbler. If anyone knows, let me know. We visited Chico Basin Ranch on a day two days after a cold front had come through. On the ranch's web site, they mentioned that there are usually more birds trapped on days following cold fronts and we really lucked out. They banded around fifty birds the day we were there, the largest number they'd ever done. They trap the birds in nets, then put each one into a small cloth sack which is hung on a rack until the ornithologist is ready to band the bird. Then the bird is taken out, weighed, measured and an attempt is made to estimate the bird's age. To do this, the expert blew softly on the feathers of the head and then felt for a soft spot. Birds have those just like humans do. To weigh the bird, it is placed upside down in a small pvc tube placed on the scale. Throughout the entire process, the birds were amazingly calm, due to the calm way the folks involved handled the birds. A school class was visiting the day we were there and when they were ready to release a bird, the naturalist would place it upside down onto the outstretched palms of a student. The bird would lie quietly until the naturalist gently nudged it over and then off it would fly. We saw several types of warblers, like Wilson's and yellow-throated, as well as various types of sparrows, ovenbirds, catbirds and numerous others. It was fascinating. They do the bird banding during September and the first week of October, as well as in May. Birds from as far north as Alaska migrate through on their way south, since the ranch has lots of food sources, as well as ample water. It is a working ranch, where a herd of retired horses is allowed to run freely most of the time. If you are ever in the Colorado Springs area during the banding months, a visit to the ranch would be a great thing to do.
Thanks for the comments on my shot of the seedheads. Much appreciated. We did get about eight inches of snow, but the storm was a bit slower coming in than anticipated and our drive to Denver and back wasn't too bad. The roads were slushy and a bit slick but there was little traffic, so we did all right. Thanks for all the good wishes for our safety!
Have a good day!
birdbanded birdbandednaturalistchico basin ranchcolorado springswildlifeanimalfowlwarbler