Photos: Band of feathers

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

An already tagged bird from one of 22 Pine Bush Preserve nets.

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Chris Standley holds a juvenile robin in his hand, showing the band that will allow the bird to be tracked to see if mating occurs in that section of the Pine Bush. 

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

The age of the bird is determined by fanning the wing feathers to see any new molts budding out. 

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Amanda Dillon untangles an already tagged bird.

Like the canary in the coalmine, birds serve as sentinels for contaminants that can harm entire ecosystems, according to Evan Adams, of the Biodiversity Institute.

Working with MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship), the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is catching birds in mist nets so that they can be banded, released, and tracked. The Pine Bush Preserve has two of hundreds of stations that stretch across the continent. One in eight bird species is at risk of extinction, according to a Birdlife International report.

In 10 mornings, preserve workers banded more than 300 birds and recorded weights, measurements, and ages of the birds. The data show the preserve’s pine barrens support robust populations of many birds declining in the Northeast, including the prairie warbler, brown thrasher, and eastern towhee.

 

More Regional News

ALTAMONT — The congressman, in a black overcoat and shiny shoes, bent down to touch a pile of rusty and broken pipes outside the cement-block well house on Gun Club Road. The wind was chill and the gray sky held snow on the first day of spring as a bevy of local officials clustered about Paul Tonko.

Jeffrey Moller, Altamont’s superintendent of public works, wearing a jacket with his name on it and work boots, had gathered the pipes to illustrate for the congressman some of what was underground in the village.

Farmers gathered in Syracuse last week to sell, to visit, and to celebrate New York's agricultural community at the state's annual farm show.

Legislators will consider a law that could protect delicate local wells and reservoirs from blasting as Tennessee Gas Pipeline prepares to expand its supply pipes.