Fall migration banding
Each fall, US Fish and Wildlife Service in Tok does fall migration bird banding for a month. It's an impressive set up. Biologists and techs go out every morning at sunrise (which at the start is as early as 4AM!) and set up several mistnets in a wooded area near refuge headquarters. They check the nets every half hour and measure, weigh and band every bird caught in the nets. This is much different from my past bird tech gigs, where we only had one mistnet at a time and were looking for specific birds, letting the rest go. This is a lot more time-consuming. One tech brought back 10 birds during one sweep of the nets.The process is like clockwork--they are amazingly fast at getting birds processed and released. Several times a season, USFWS invites children from local schools to take a field trip to the site and watch the process. The kids are encouraged to participate by releasing the birds themselves. It's not easy taking a picture of a bird release, usually I hit the button a little too late! Some birds cooperated by not flying off right away. The last pic is of cameraman Zak releasing a bird-I missed the bird but love the look of joy on his face! This definitely took me back to my tech days and was a fun shoot!