Like last year, my family decided it was best for our serotonin levels (and marriage) to head south for a week and try to escape the permacloud that settles over the Midwest in winter.
I lugged around my Canon as we walked the beach and nature trails. For the birds, as always! (Photo gallery at the end of the post).
I noticed that one American Oystercatcher had something high up on its legs. A bird band! Someone had attached an identifying tag to this individual. I made sure to get several photos, in focus, in order to read the markings on the band.
You should report any banded bird you find to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It provides crucial data that helps scientists understand the life history of our feathered friends.
Within just a couple days, I got a certificate describing when and where this particular individual was banded:
Turns out it was banded year a few dozen miles up the coast, 4 years ago.
As I’m not a regular duck hunter, this is only the second time I’ve been able to report a band, so I was pretty excited, despite the rather normal description.
If you, reader, find that a rather odd way to spend one’s vacation… well, I can’t argue with you 🙂 The heart wants what it wants.
We didn’t do any major expeditions like the Everglades trip last year, so I don’t have much to share. I only ID’s 37 birds in a week, which for Florida is nothing.
But! I did add one new species to my “life list” – the Red Knot. I couldn’t tell what they were when I photographed them, but the community of citizen-scientists at iNaturalist helped me out.
Red Knots are pretty impressive little creatures. They “travel some 19,000 miles every year, sometimes flying for six or eight days at a stretch without stopping to rest or feed.” A long-lived individual will fly the equivalent of a trip to the moon and (halfway) back.
In 2014 they were listed as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. “Since 2000 the rufa Red Knot’s population has declined by roughly 75 percent at key stopovers.” Their fate now lies largely in the hands of humans.
Below is a gallery of some birds I saw. I’ll ID them in the captions. Enjoy!