December 14, 2010


Looks like rain today, so I may have the day off, which really means nothing to me during the week because everyone I know around here (Oakland) still work when it's raining out.

Here's a picture of me processing one of those hummingbirds from yesterday. When processing a bird there are a lot of things that we look at. Sometimes birds are too stressed out to band and must be rehabed and released immediately. If they are fine (which most are) the number one priority is to get the band on the bird. Then we look at determining an age and a sex for the bird, which is the hardest aspect of this job because of how different this process can be between species. To do this we will look at a variety of molting patterns, plumage differences, the thickness of their skull, the wear of their feathers, the shape of their feathers, iris color, and more. We also collect information on their fat content, wing length, weight, and feather fade. A lot of this stuff is pretty basic and I am already used to doing it, but when it comes to learning the specifics for the age and sex of species I hadn't seen until a week ago, I am learning more than I could have hoped for.


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