Sparrow In Bander’s Grip
On Stratton Island each fall, biologists from Project Puffin’s Seabird Restoration Program run a bird banding station to track passerines and other migrants. Here, the biologist holds this sparrow in what is called the “bander’s grip.” The bird’s wings are pressed against the banders’ hand and the first two fingers hold firmly on the bird’s shoulders. In this position, the bird is secure enough not to struggle, and yet is easy to maneuver in order to weigh, measure and band.
“People have been banding (or ringing, as it is called in Europe) birds for centuries. The first record of a metal band attached to a bird’s leg was about 1595 when one of Henry IV’s banded peregrine falcons was lost in pursuit of a bustard in France. It showed up 24 hours later in Malta, about 1,350 miles away, averaging 56 mph!”
Quote Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. (2000). Brief History of Bird Banding. Bird Banding Laboratory, The North American Bird Banding Program. http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbl/homepage/history.htm (12 Dec. 2000).
Photo Courtesy of Susan Schubel