My Banded Birds
from Middle Creek, Pennsylvania
March 2009 and 2010

March 21, 2010: Further updates, in yellow green (at the bottom of the page).

May 3, 2009: Updates below, in light blue.

In the five years that I've been in Pennsylvania, the March 1 visit to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area was the first occasion that I had photographed birds featuring bands clearly enough to be read. On the other hand, the photos themselves don't work particularly well as photos, but the bands are significant.

Originally, I thought the first photo was one big mistake: The overhead tundra swan was too close to fit in the frame. Normally, that would be an automatic delete - until I noticed the band. So T294 is my first identified tundra swan.

Tundra swan T294

During the day, I took random photos of groups of floating snow geese. I didn't realize that any in the groups had a band until after I examined the photos at home. Both snow geese were at the edge of the frame and not in particularly good focus. But the band is readable: 45AX.

I've heard from the Bird Banding Laboratory (at the USGS - Patuxent Wildlife Research Center), and found out that both geese were banded by the Greater Snow Goose Demographic Studies program based at Université Laval, Canada.

Snow goose 45AX is an adult female, banded in May 2008, at Île-aux-oies, Quebec, Canada.

Snow goose 45AX

I don't know whether the snow goose below blinked when I took the photo or whether it has an eye problem. My guess it that the goose blinked (and let me tell you, birds blink quite often). This snow goose is PH02.

Snow goose PH02 is an adult female, banded in July 2007, at Bylot Island, Nunavut, Canada.

Snow goose PH02

There's a federal site that accepts band data, and I filled in all the forms. Theoretically, if the bird can be matched to a bander, I should receive a report on that particular bird. And if I'm sent any such info, I'll update this page.

I haven't heard from the Greater Snow Goose Demographic Studies program yet, so maybe I'll have more information to include at a later time.

March 21, 2010: I received an email from Jakub Jasinski, a superb photographer, who photographed snow goose 45AX this past Wednesday and who is letting me reproduce a reduced image:

Snow goose 45AX

Jakub's photographing snow goose 45AX means that she successfully made it north last year, returned south, and now is on her way back to the arctic.

Incidentally, Jakub Jasinski Photography has many, many beautiful nature photographs and is well worth a visit.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K200D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens for my photos, taken on March 1, 2009. (I don't know what Jakub used for his March 17, 2010, photo . . . yet.)


Snow geese video: Brief swarm (1.6 megs)   |   Complex swarm (8 megs)

Snow geese photos: Near and far


Snow geese video: Flyby (3.8 megs)   |   Swarm (15 megs)

Snow geese photos: Incoming!   |   Swarm sequence

My Pennsylvania bird list   |   Snow geese and Blue snow geese closeups

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