I contacted Lisa several weeks ago when I received news that the forest preserve district natural resources department put my route on the list for having bluebird nestlings banded this season. A first for me! Lisa, a fellow volunteer bluebird monitor, is also the holder of a U.S. Federal Bird Banding and Marking Permit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits as authorized by The Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Okay, that’s as technical as I’m going to get. There is some interesting, detailed information on the Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program site if you care to venture over there.
I’ve been sending Lisa updates on my nest boxes. I provided her with aerial maps, the number of each box that has a bluebird nest, the number of eggs, the date the first egg in each nest is laid, the date the eggs hatch and so on. I’ve sent her some photos, too, to help her gauge the age of the nestlings. Her window to band the little ones is when they are between 8 and 12 days old. Earlier than that and they are too tiny. Older than that and disturbing them makes them prone to pre-mature fledging. That means they might jump out of their nest before they can fly and they’d be vulnerable to predators while the parents try to continue looking after them.
Lisa let me know she had been out and put bands on the bluebird nestlings in box 10 last Friday. I’m hopeful that somewhere along the way this season my schedule and Lisa’s will allow for me to meet her while she is banding nestlings on my trail. I would love to have pictures of my bluebirds being fitted with tiny ankle bracelets.
If you have not checked it out for a while…click on the My 2012 Bluebird Journal page for some photos and to catch up on what’s been happening along the route.