By Tania Moffat
Experience the wonder and beauty of Manitoba’s songbirds up close by taking part in an exciting and important conservation activity. Every Friday morning, from May until October, if weather permits, Oak Hammock Marsh offers visitors an opportunity to do something extraordinary – band and catalogue our local song birds.
This Canadian Signature Experience is an important teaching opportunity for all ages. Visitors will learn why banding, cataloguing and tracking our bird populations is vital to understanding changes in their populations and preserving the species. What is truly amazing, though, is seeing the delicate beauty of these little creatures and meeting them up close.
Your interpreter will discuss the types of birds you may find as you check the nets for captured songbirds. With as many as seven nets be set up and checked every half hour the Oak Hammock banders can be quite busy. Watch as they expertly untangle the tiny birds and place them in cloth bag to calm them. Once all the nets have been checked, you’ll head back to the original Ducks Unlimited head office to identify, determine the age and sex of the birds before banding them. You will learn tips on how to distinguish males from females, by colour, wing size and moulting patterns. By blowing on their chests, you’ll learn how to determine if a bird has built up enough fat to endure its long migratory journey and discover approximately how old your feathered friend is. Once birds have been catalogued and identified they are weighed, banded and set free.
An informative and amazing experience.
For more information on this and other great activities offered at Oak Hammock Marsh visit: http://www.oakhammockmarsh.ca