As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 22 October 2012

30 years of bird banding by Alabama couple has changed our understanding of migration

A north wind at his back, the migrating catbird flew over the white capped waves rolling across Mobile Bay and into the dense woods of the Fort Morgan peninsula.
There, in a thicket at the edge of the seaside forest, his journey south across the Gulf of Mexico was temporarily interrupted as he tumbled into a nearly invisible wall of mesh netting.
Wings flapping impotently, the bird thrashed and called out as a pair of humans approached.
“There you go. Ooh, you’re mad. I can see that,” said Bob Sargent, big hands delicately removing the pewter gray bird from the entangling netting and then placing it in a small mesh bag. “Let’s see what we can do about getting you on your way.”
Within minutes, the bird had been weighed, fitted with a tiny metal identification band, given a physical, and then released to continue his southbound journey.
For more than 20 years, Sargent, his wife Martha, and a gypsy caravan’s worth of volunteer bird lovers have gathered in this place to band as many migrating birds as possible each spring and fall. The couple created non-profit Hummer/Bird Study Group to finance their efforts.

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