|Nelson Sparrow on the left Salt Marsh Sparrow on the right|
This week the tides are super high. These sparrows are on the edges of the marshes instead of spreading out across the vast marsh. We need to know about these sparrows that use out marsh as their winter home. How does that happen?
The scientists have to get to know them so they go out to meet them. To learn more they band the birds. That is what I went out to watch on Thursday. I am not able to get in the thick of things because the chemo has weakened my feet and hands. Now that does not stop me for I can take photos and report this interesting process.
First they must gather the birds. They walk out into high marsh with a line. This high marsh is safe to walk. (Sidebar: Not all of our marsh is not safe to walk don’t try it by yourself.)
The birds fly into the special nets. Everyone is there to get the birds safely into holding bags for trainer master banders.
The bands they use are from the US Geological Service Banding Lab. They are light-weight aluminum bands with numbers stamped into the band. Each number is unique. These numbers are stored at the banding lab. Here is Tim Keyes preparing to band these birds.
The two target species are studied carefully. Then they are photographed with the unique number to study even further.
It was a fun morning. I even helped by record the information when they need skilled people to help at the nets. Life is too short to miss watching these talented scientists at work. They help us see that the salt marsh is more than a sea of grass.