Black Canyon to host bird bander Carver

Certified bird bander Amber Carver examines a White-Crowned Sparrow during a 2011 banding project at the Grand Valley Audubon Society’s Nature Center near Connected Lakes. Carver is presenting a program on bird banding Tuesday evening at the Montrose Public Library.

The Black Canyon Chapter of the National Audubon Society will host certified bird-bander Amber Carver for a program on the value of banding wild birds from 5:30–6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Montrose Public Library, 320 S. Second St.

Carver, who has been banding birds for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory since 2008, is a regular bander for the Black Canyon and Grand Valley Audubon chapters.

“By catching and banding birds we gain an incredible amount of information, including migration patterns, fluctuations in population, impacts of human activities, and reproductive success,” Carver said.

Spring banding stations are set up each year near Connected Lakes State Park in Grand Junction and Ridgway State Park near Ridgway.

Banders catch passing birds by using finely-woven mist nets, which are checked at least once an hour. When birds are caught, they are released unharmed from the net, measured, weighed and given a small, loose-fitting leg band with a unique number.

This number allows banders anywhere to identify previously caught birds.

“I recaptured a yellow warbler in 2011 that had been previously caught and banded at the same site eight years before, so that helps us to understand just how long these birds live,” Carver said.

Many scientists say the information gleaned from banding birds offers insights to global climate change by recording changes in habitat and animal survival and behavior.

The spring banding programs work with local schools to offer students a chance to experience citizen science and participate in the banding program.

For information about Tuesday’s program in Montrose, call Geoff Tischbein, 249-5215.

And speaking of birds, the ongoing irruption (invasion) of northern finches across the mid-United States continues to amaze birders from Colorado to North Carolina.

According to Project FeederWatch, a joint project of Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada, more Common Redpolls have been reported this year in Colorado than since the project’s start in 1989.

Redpolls, both Common and Hoary, aren’t the only unexpected visitors being reported this winter.

Project FeederWatch reports bird watchers across the eastern half of the country are seeing unusual numbers of Pine Siskins in Florida, Red-breasted Nuthatches in Louisiana and Evening Grosbeaks in the Northeast.

Late March through April are good times to see unusual visitors at your feeders because that is when natural food sources have been depleted and birds are getting ready for the spring mating season.

More information about Project FeederWatch is available at


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