April 22, 2015

First Birds Banded of the 2015 Spring Season

In between the scattered hail storms and before the high winds kicked up again, I was able to catch a few birds today. Not many, only nine total, but six different species, which is exciting!
Drumroll please.... So, the first bird for the 2015 spring season was a recaptured (banded in a previous year) male Northern Cardinal and the first unbanded bird(s) was actually two male American Robins caught in the same net at the same time. Other highlights included a Brown Creeper and a Brown Thrasher (both pictured below).
The weather doesn't look that great for the next few days but that's okay as I still have a lot of net lane maintenance to do. It looks like it might actually be a decent weekend though and when I have all of the net lanes open and the nets up and running, I will post a schedule so that you all can come down and visit me while we wait for the warbler invasion!
Brown Creeper
Brown Thrasher

April 17, 2015



My name is Laura-Marie ('LM' for short) and I am excited to be the bird bander at Presque Isle for the spring migration this year. I have a pretty diverse background: I studied ancient languages and culture all over the world as an undergrad, I spent some time as a solicitor in the UK after grad school, and then I was a full time wildlife rehabilitatior for a few years. One thing has always remained a constant though- my love of birds. I grew up on the east coast and some of my earliest and fondest memories are of walking the Delaware Bayshore with my grandmother as she educated the public about shorebirds and I tried to convince people to flip over the stranded horseshoe crabs. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many of the shorebirds from my childhood, both here in the States as well as in other countries. I have spent the last seven years working with wildlife in various capacities and in particular, I have spent the last three years sharpening my avian banding skills by banding birds on three continents and working with various sized birds from hummingbirds to albatross so, trust me, your birds are in good hands! Most recently, I had the privilege to trap shorebirds on their wintering grounds in Brasil in between working and volunteering at Powdermill Nature Reserve over the last two years. Powdermill is a very special place not only because it is the longest continually run banding operation in our country but also because it is uniquely situated to catch a large diversity of birds during migration and so during my time there, I had the opportunity to work with 112 unique species. Hopefully, many of which I will be able to show you up close if you come down to visit me whilst I'm banding. As mentioned in a previous post, we will be posting a schedule and more information in the upcoming weeks. I hope that all of you will come down and visit me at least once this season and share in the love that is witnessing spring migration up close and in the hand. I should be pretty easy to locate once you get to the banding site- I usually have a bird in the hand and a big smile on my face but I've attached some photos in case you need a better reference (also these photos show just some of the diversity of what you can catch with mist nets!).

I look forward to meeting each and every one of you and here's to a great season!

For the last four years, I've been trapping raptors in Cape
May, NJ during fall migration. This is the first Red-tailed Hawk
that I ever caught.

I actually caught this swan on a net round
while banding at the largest passerine station in
the world (Icklesham, UK).
I have had the pleasure of working with
Semipalmated Sandpipers on both the DE
Bay and in Brasil. This particular population
has seen a significant decline in the last few decades.
The first time that I ever caught a Belted
Kingfisher, I actually caught two in the same
net! Talk about a happy biologist!

April 13, 2015

The Presque Isle banding season is almost here!

Hello Bird Banding friends,

Audubon Pennsylvania and Presque Isle Audubon Society are bringing you five weeks of bird banding at Presque Isle beginning on April 20th!  Our new bird bander for this season will be Laura-Marie Koitsch. The 20th is her first day, so it might be a good idea to let her get settled in before swarming the banding sites(!). There will be some maintenance to do on the net lanes during the first week, so if you do come out, please be prepared to do some trimming and raking to get things in shape.

Once we get going we will be posting the schedule of sites and latest information on the most recent catches so be sure to check here often! We will be alternating between the Niagara Boat Launch site and the Fry's Landing site as in past years. We will have a new stick-in-the-ground sign that will be put out near the road at the site we're banding at each day, so be sure to look for it.

More coming soon!