Carolyn Sturtevant's Mr. Redlegs and friends - July 9, 2005
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These birds are among the eight target species being studied in the Neighborhood Nestwatch program of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewood, Maryland. They use numbered aluminum bands to identify birds in the official database maintained by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The colored bands are applied unique color combinations to allow easy identification of an individual by simple observation. Carolyn volunteered her yard in Greenbelt, Maryland as a host site for their research on birds in the urban environment and on the effectiveness of citizen science programs. Their web page is:

The House Wren, Mr. Redlegs, was banded May 8, 2003. He and his mates have raised two broods each year in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Amazingly, he has survived at least three winter migrations to the south, probably to southern Florida or to Central America. He has returned to his familiar haunts each spring. His mate in 2003 and 2004, Ms. Lilac, with white, purple, and aluminum bands, did not reappear in 2005. A female presumed to be his new mate was banded July12, 2005 with aluminum, green, and black bands.

The Northern Cardinal wears only the aluminum band, and this photo doesn't really show it. I'm convinced that this is the cardinal banded May 8, 2003 with a purple band over a green band on his right leg. In subsequent months, first one colored plastic band disappeared, and then the other, leaving only the aluminum band. He's a year-round resident in our neighborhood, also a family man.

The American Robin and young are as yet unbanded.