I'm really glad she did.
The Idaho Bird Observatory is located just outside of Boise for many reasons. Turns out this area is a great place to observe and study many types of birds since it is on a main migration route.
One of the first things we did upon arriving at the IBO was to watch the volunteers collect and enter data from the many birds they had already caught that morning. Each of those bags strung across the opening contain a bird. We watched, fascinated, as each bag fluttered with its content.
Here is one of the birds trapped in a pocket of the trap fence. The volunteers very delicately extract each bird, place it in a pouch, and then transfer them to the volunteers to gather information.
The information gathered from each bird was surprisingly long and included the bird having a breath of air blown onto it. Blowing the feathers out of the way revealed how much fat deposit the bird held, among other things.
Most of the birds we watched being measured were Ruby Crowned Kinglets.
Each bird was banded during the process. You can see how tiny and delicate these bands were.
As a contrast, there are larger bands reserved for the bigger birds.
Teresa and I were also allowed to watch as hawks were trapped for studying. This is a completely different and trickier method involving live pigeons as bait.
When caught, the hawks are brought into a blind where they are measured and banded.
Keep in mind these are wild birds. I was impressed at the careful handling and the calm nature of the volunteers.
One of the beautiful Cooper's Hawks.
And who is holding that beautiful bird?
Yes, that's me.
The volunteers allowed us to take turns releasing the birds.
Teresa with a lovely Merlin.
You can find more and better details at Teresa's blog post.
I highly recommend taking a trip to the IBO. Check out their website for more info.
Things to keep in mind; the road up is mostly for 4 wheel drive, take your own water, food, and other conveniences, it's basically camping out up there for the day. The volunteers appreciate any snacks or baked goods you bring them and there are shirts and hats for purchasing. And cash donations are greatly appreciated.