Somewhat confusing these metal bird bands. Most are nine digits. Hummingbird bands have only six (the band is, well, that tiny). Large bands, as used on eagles and osprey, it turns out, can have either eight or nine digits. This morning, while dining on fresh fish, the female Osprey ("fish hawk" was once their common English name) displayed her band to be of the eight number variety. So 788-20124 it is! Once advised, Dr. Bob Reilly of Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory, www.cvwo.org, promptly placed a call to the Bird Banding Lab in Maryland.
After checking the database once and then again, the BBL advised Dr. Reilly that this very Osprey, 788-20124, was banded as a nestling somewhere in Maryland by David Brinker, a biologist who works for the State of Maryland, on.............................the sixth day of July in the year --------------------------1992.
Remarkable. As I learn more of this individual bird, I shall pass the information along.
There were signs of new activity at the banding station today. A Hermit Thrush was netted, followed by an Orange-crowned Warbler. And then came a woodpecker. Not the quiet, small ones you see at your feeder or suet ball over the winter, not even close. Instead, on the last net run of the day appeared a screaming, thrashing, clawing, chisel-wielding, handsome, male, second-year Pileated Woodpecker. See their images below.