2011 Banding Activities
Winter has been a slow time for our banding activities. Although we have made a few efforts, these have been for the purpose of skill training for specific members of our banding crew.  We want to insure that all members of the crew have sufficient experience to carry out the many tasks necessary for the successful and safe completion of our continuing projects scheduled this spring and summer. 
It has been a different winter for birds in the Concho Valley. This region often has been the wintering ground for many western and northern birds that summer in New Mexico and Colorado such as Mountain Bluebirds, Green-tailed Towhees and Sage Thrashers.  These birds have been noticeably absent. On the other hand, there have been several birds present in numbers greater than we would expect for this region. Red-breasted Nuthatches and Golden-crowned Kinglets are two that come to mind.  
Not knowing what to expect as winter draws to a close, we made our annual trip to our banding station at Twistflower Ranch to provide a banding demonstration for a group of Master Naturalists from Austin that were guests of the ranch owner. We band there on the first weekend of March each year.  Last year's effort produced a large number of winter migrants.This winter has seen very little moisture  on the ranch and we were greeted by strong northerly winds as we arrived at the ranch.
The birds banded this year were mostly permanent residents at the ranch. The numbers of Black-throated Sparrows were amazing. Migrant/winter birds were limited to Hermit Thrushes, White-crowned Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, and Lark Buntings.  We also banded a Curve-billed Thrasher in addition to the expected permanent residents. We did have some returns of birds that were banded last year that we will discuss later in the spring. It is always a pleasure to band for this group of Master Naturalists.  Mike, Donna and Ted are always great hosts. We had a great day and it was good to have a trial run with all of our banding crew working together.