Many of these soft, cloth bird bags that
Mike holds in this photo came from the nets on the
other side of the river — from nets which are
raised at 6:45 am, weather-permitting. One bird is
carried per bag. The bags in the field are hung
with color-coded clothes pins, in a sort of
“triage-method,” to denote priorities to the staff
for examining the birds. Back at the tiny lab, the
bags are hung on certain numbered hooks until the
staff/interns can bring the birds through the
banding process. This process includes a very
detailed exam of different aspects: fat, weight,
age, sex, etc. It seems to take 5-10 minutes per
bird. Notes are recorded on each factor. It seems
to be a challenging process for new interns as they
use the charts on the wall, pages in books,
discussions with staff members, observations in the
sunlight outside the lab, and many specialized
techniques to record information on the birds.
While Jessica is carrying out all this, she is able
to generously educate visitors about exactly what
she is doing at each step of the process and why.
However, that can only be done if the number of
birds is not overwhelming at the time.