We finally got a chance to do some banding at the Arboretum at Penn State this week, first for the Ornithology Lab on Thursday and again on Friday for anyone who wanted to come. On Thursday we caught a Gray Catbird, my first of the year, but we had to leave early and I missed a Brown Thrasher. On Friday, I was fortunate enough to be there when we caught another thrasher and they thought it would be funny to make me band it.
This wasn’t the first time that I banded a Brown Thrasher. In 2005, I had a summer research internship where I worked at two MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) stations in northern Indiana. We caught a lot of good birds at those stations including Henslow’s Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager and Yellow-throated Vireo.
Brown Thrashers, like a lot of other species, can be a real handful as shown in the photo below.
I always get excited to see the first couple Gray Catbirds of the year. A lot of banders get tired of catbirds as they can be pretty numerous and have the bad tendency to eat berries and then deposit the digested leftovers on your pants in a hard-to-remove purple color. I still like them though because they have a lot of personality.