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Nets up and preparing the corpses

First job of the day today was to put up nets. We managed to get 4 out of the 10 nets up this morning, they are all 40′ standard mist nets – nets 11, 12, 8 and 7.

Net 7 up but it needs a bridge across to it

Net 7 up but it needs a bridge across to it

We tried digging out the snow drift at net 5 but there is so much water there we were fighting a losing battle.

Ian digging out the snow where net 5 should be

Ian digging out the snow where net 5 should be

The stations maintenance manager, Jeff arrived back by boat late morning and was immediately put to work!. There is still a big snow drift blocking the way to net 2 so after lunch Jeff took the snow blower down there and we were then able to put that net up.

Our next job was a rather gruesome one. We  had to spend some time preparing the specimens for the forthcoming banding workshop. A banding workshop here is a very different affair to a ringing course in the UK. UK courses involve gaining experience with live birds, net skills and extraction techniques under the supervision of experienced trainers. The last course i attended here in Canada there was no field work involved it was all classroom based and specimens were used. Although saying that, the observatory i was based at last Spring, Innis Point Bird Observatory, held a couple of training weekends for their volunteer helpers and that was more along the lines of a UK course, at Innis they are lucky enough to have a fair number of experienced banders who were able to supervise.
For the course that will take place here this coming weekend we have a large box of specimens on loan from the museum in Ontario and we also have a selection of frozen birds which are rather gruesome and a bit stinky. We sorted the spring from the autumn birds and threw away anything that looked too gruesome and squashed.

Frozen birds, mostly found dead, dead from hitting windows and quite a lot that died during a big storm in May 2004

Frozen birds, mostly found dead, dead from hitting windows and quite a lot that died during a big storm in May 2004

A much needed walk and some fresh air brought us a new species for the trip – Pine Siskins

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