Show notes for Episode 5 “Planting, banding, and parking lot bird photography”

In today’s episode we talk about planting, banding, and have a tip to share about photographing birds in parking lots – who would’ve thought THAT was possible.


  • Ideal for cover
    • Rose bush attracted yellow-rumped warblers, juncos, white-crown sparrows (juveniles and adults)
  • Be on the lookout when planting bushes for birds.  They may attract more than what you bargained for
    • We have a Cooper’s hawk just wait for birds to exit the rose bush
    • Cats find rose bushes ideal for shade
  • Austin’s tip


  • We use mist nets
    • You have to be a licensed bander to buy these nets
    • Really fine mesh nets that, when set up properly, the birds can’t see.
    • Birds fly in and we extract them
  • Take them back to the banding trailer
    • Take measurements
      • Chord length (wing), Tarsus length (leg), mass
      • Can help in identifying male vs. female
    • If they aren’t a recaptured bird we give them some bling
  • Put them through a little bird MRI machine
    • Takes more specific measurements that we can use in research
  • Take some pictures (if the bird isn’t too stressed) and release

Tip to photographing birds

  • Using your car
    • You’d be surprised of what you will find
      • Enjoys birding in parking lots next to the understory
    • I just staked out the spot in my car and clicked away
      • A Brown Thrasher jumped out into the open
      • Discuss video capture at a small watering hole
    • You can shoot your camera from within your car but not your gun.
    • For those of you with sunroofs
      • You can open your sunroof and shoot away from up high
      • If a feather were to randomly fall into your car
        • It’s illegal to keep ’em.
          • Take that feather and place it somewhere outside to be one with the earth.
          • But…don’t forget to snap a quick pic!
            • Send to Austin for identification
    • [Austin] You may use your window as a stabilizer
    • Pull over safely
      • put on hazards
      • Try not to get out of the car or you’ll spook whatever you were planning to shoot.


  • Tim: Brown Thrasher, Cormorants
  • Austin: American Woodcock, Carolina Wren, Towhees, and Fox/Song Sparrows, Brown-headed Cowbird

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