Friday, April 6, 2012

Wildwood, Kosciusko County
Recently my faithful companions and I attended a bird-banding at Wildwood Nature Preserve near Silver Lake, Indiana.  A bird banding is when birds are humanely captured within a mist net, examined, measured, banded, then released unharmed.  
Does this photo look a bit blurry to you?  That's because this researcher is standing behind a mist net, a very fine and soft, nearly invisible net designed to safely capture the birds as they fly into it.
This was a great opportunity to see birds up close and learn about local bird species and the international bird banding program. If a captured bird is already wearing a band, their activities can be tracked throughout their lives.  If a bird isn't wearing a band, one is placed on their leg, and they are entered into the banding program.
The band for this tufted titmouse was very small. Bird bands come in many sizes and are light, comfortable and unobtrusive for the birds. Each band is stamped with a tracking number.

Special pliers are used to tighten the band so it fits the diameter of the bird's leg just right.
After the bird is measured and banded, all this data is recorded into a notebook, then later in a computer program and shared with the world.  And of course, the birds are released safely back into the wild.  

Evelynn got to hold and release a chickadee.

Hank's bird was very ready to escape captivity!
After the excitement of the bird banding, we headed out into the wilderness for our hiking adventure.  It was no accident that Wildwood was choosen as the site for a bird banding. There are many different species of birds that call this preserve home. Including the pileated woodpecker. 

Pileated woodpeckers are the largest of the common woodpeckers found in most of North America. These crow-sized birds present a memorable sight with their zebra-striped heads and necks, long bills, and distinctive red crests.
We didn't see any woodpeckers on our hike, but the evidence of thier existence was plentiful!

Pileated woodpeckers forage for their favorite meal, carpenter ants, by digging large, rectangular holes in trees. These holes can be so large that they weaken smaller trees or even cause them to break in half.
Our hiking adventure brought us to many bodies of water. Wildwood has a small pond, vernal pools, and numerous wetlands.
A vernal pool is a depression in the land that accumulates water with the rising water table of fall and winter or with the meltwater and runoff of winter and spring snow and rain. They contain water for a few months in the spring and early summer. By late summer, a vernal pool is generally dry. Learn more here:
Wetlands are places where there is shallow water or very soggy soil at least part of the time. There are three major wetland groups: swamps, marshes, and bogs. It’s easy to tell the difference between the first two. Swamps have mostly trees or shrubs. And marshes have mostly grassy plants. Bogs are spongy, mossy wetlands where plants pile up faster than they can rot away. All those plants form thick layers of peat. 

And all throughout our hike, I was pleased as punch to FINALLY be seeing some signs that spring has sprung! 

"If one daffodil is worth a thousand pleasures, then one is
too few." ~William Wordsworth


A very  helpful website if you are interested in identifying flowers... It is categorized by color!
I can't wait to see what lies ahead in our next hiking journey!  See you then!!

1 comment:

  1. Very informative now I know my wetlands. I saw a Pileated woodpecker in Coatesville PA once and was amazed and startled at the same time. It wasn't moving as I drove toward it. The bird was huge, so I thought it was a lawn decoration. Then it turned it's head and started to fly. That's all I saw because I was past him after that. Soo Cool!