This past Saturday and Sunday, Diane and I had our annual family reunion with 26 of our 27 members able to join us. Saturday was World Migratory Bird Day, so Crieff Conference Centre had arranged for Brian, a certified bird bander, to be there for the morning. We were able to watch how he caught birds in nets and band them. He caught five that day. He examines them to determine their sex, whether the females were brooding or not from their ‘brood patch’, estimate their age from their feathers, weigh them, and band them. Each band has a nine-digit number and Brian recorded all the information about each bird in his record book. Later he reports this to the Canadian bird database and it goes from there to the US and North-and-South-America database. He let children release the birds. Brian laid the bird upside down on the child’s hand, then told the child to lay the other hand beside the first and gently roll the bird onto the second hand; the bird was then right-side up and soon flew away—at high speed!
When Brian was finished the four birds, it was close to 12:00 o’clock and he began to close up. I walked back to our house along the nets and found a brown thrasher in the second net! I ran back and told Brian; he came and got it and banded it too. I got to hold that bird—not on its back as it was too big—and then to let it go. It flew away madly, probably to its nest of eggs. The bird-banding was a wonderful experience. God’s birds are marvelous!