Holiman Elementary--May 16th  and May 18th
On Monday and Wednesday, we were at the Hummer House to provide a bird banding demonstration for the fifth grade students from Holiman Elementary . We, along with the Holliman students  were fortunate to have Kelly and Donna Bryan of Fort Davis, Texas join us for the presentation.  Kelly is well known for his work with the western  hummingbirds and other species of birds that live in the Trans-Pecos Region of Texas. Students were able to have  a close-up experience with the hummingbirds  and  the many colorful and special species of song birds that are found at the Hummer House.  Because of the number of students involved, part of the students were present on Monday and the remainder were there on Wednesday. During the two days of presentations, students were able to  see twenty-six species of birds including the very noisy Golden-fronted Woodpecker and the Black-chinned Hummingbirds that made very little noise. We also banded an Ovenbird, two Gray Catbirds, a Lazuli Bunting, an adult male Orchard Oriole and more adult male Painted Buntings than you could believe during the demonstrations for  the students. We were delighted by the excellent response by the Holiman students and the preparation  by their excellent  teachers.
San Antonio Master Naturalists
On Saturday, May 14th, we were at the Hummer House to present a banding demonstration for a group of Master Naturalists from San Antonio. Although the number of birds banded on this day was not large, they were a diverse and interesting mix of summer resident and migrant birds. We banded six migrant warbler species including our first Black and White Warbler in several years.  On my second net run at the spring, I was surprised to net an adult male Magnolia Warbler.  This is the first banding record of this species in the Concho Valley.  We also recaptured a Gray Catbird that we first banded at that location earlier in the month.  The banding of the Magnolia Warbler brings the species banded at the Hummer House to a total of one hundred and forty. Our congratulations to Dan and Cathy Brown for their bird conservation efforts at the ranch that allow so many beautiful and notable birds to be welcomed  by the habitat  there.
Twistflower Ranch--May 7, 2011
On May 7th, five members of our banding crew traveled to Twistflower Ranch in Crockett County. Banding on the first weekend of May at Twistflower has become an annual event for us.  We have always encountered a large number of migrant birds along with a wide variety of summer residents on this weekend. We were concerned about the effects of the current long-term drought on the birds of that area.  We set nets in two separate areas and soon netted a good variety of birds. It was  evident that the populations of many resident bird species have been impacted by the drought and we also noted that some migrants normally on the ranch during this time of the year were not present. We banded 35 birds of seventeen species and enjoyed the opportunity to visit the ranch. We also enjoyed the opportunity to meet members of the McCloskey Family that we had not met before and share the birds that we banded with them.
Ambleside School 1st Grade---May 6, 2011

We hurried back from HEB Camp to set up our nets at the Hummer House for a banding demonstration the next day for first grade students from Ambleside Elementary. The students from Ambleside are always well prepared and interested in the banding process and the birds. We showed how we retrieve birds from the nets and how we band and gather information about each bird. We also showed why banding birds is important for learning about birds. It was a great morning. We banded 31 birds representing sixteen species in a short time period.


HEB Camp--May 3-5, 2011
The month of May started off with a bang as we traveled to HEB Foundation Camp near Leakey, Texas to provide bird banding demonstrations and  birding education for 4th and 5th grade students from Bronte and Ballenger as part of their annual outdoor learning field trip. The camp is spread over two nights and three days and gives students an opportunity to experience many great activities outside of a traditional school  setting. It is always a great experience in a great location.  The drought conditions that exist throughout West Texas extend into the Hill Country. The Frio River was lower than I can remember. In spite of the drought, we were able to net 82 birds of 23 species during the camp. The species represented  a wide variety of migrant and resident songbirds.  Once the students arrive, the activities at the camp are non-stop from early in the morning until lights out. The students from Bronte and Ballenger are always interested, intelligent young people and it is a pleasure to demonstrate for them and tell them about the birds. We hope that getting  "up close and personal" to the birds is as much fun for the students as it for us.