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Bird banding demonstration at Manomet, Plymouth, MA


A trained Manomet bander holds a banded male Ruby-throated hummingbird. Its green head and ruby throat glisten in the morning light, contrasting with its white underside.
Ruby-throated hummingbird. Photograph by club member William Buswell.

On Sunday morning, May 29th, at 9 AM, the Massachusetts Young Birders Club got together for a banding demonstration! After Manomet's trained banding crew collected information and put a small aluminum band on the birds' legs, we got to take a look at the birds up close before letting them go. We saw a mix of birds just passing through on their way to their breeding grounds, and birds that were preparing to breed locally for the summer.

A top view of a young red-shouldered hawk gliding across open ocean water. A snake's silhouette is visible, grasped in the hawk's talons.
Red-shouldered hawk carrying a snake. Photograph by William Buswell.

One special bird we saw was a male Ruby-throated hummingbird. Hummingbirds have incredible metabolisms, but they need to be constantly feeding to stay healthy. So, after the banders moved quickly to get this hummingbird ready to go, we took a quick look before sending him on his way. We saw many other birds, including migrants like a Black-and-white warbler, an American redstart, and locals like a Gray catbird.

Young Birders, aided by club mentor Andrea Silva-Gotay, look in the direction the group has heard a singing Baltimore oriole.
The group locates a Baltimore oriole. Photograph by coordinator Jeremy Spool.

Afterwards, we peeked out off the bluff behind Manomet. It was an amazing bright and sunny day. We could see gray seals, Common eiders, Double-crested cormorants, and a surprise appearance by a Red-throated loon (a first for many club members)! Then, a young red-shouldered hawk sped by carrying a snake!

An Eastern kingbird shows its slate gray back to the camera, turning its head to the left while looking for its next meal. It sits upon a sign that read "DO NOT ENTER", either enforcing the sign, or defying it.
Eastern kingbird on a sign. Photograph by club member Shin Yu.

We made our way around some of Manomet's trails to see what we could find. We watched tree swallows breeding in nest boxes set out in fields. We found a defiant Eastern kingbird perched on a "Do Not Enter" sign. We encountered singing Song sparrows and got a great look at a singing Baltimore oriole.


As the day heated up, we headed back to the parking lot to share our favorite moments, and then we set off our separate days to enjoy the rest of the weekend. Until next time!

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