Simona Rosenfield The Eastern Door
Kahnawake Environment Protection Office, in collaboration with Bird Protection Quebec (BPQ) visited 10 bird boxes located along the old Kahnawake Survival School campus to band the recently hatched tree swallows on Friday, June 10.
Along with banding, qualified birders also recorded the date of banding, age of bird (when possible), sex, and wing cord length. The wing chord length helps birders to identify the sex of the bird, as lengths longer than 121 mm indicate a male sex, and below 114 mm indicate a female sex.
BPQ birders hold birds safely using two grips: the banding grip, where the bird’s neck is secured between the index and middle finger while the rest of the body is held in a light grasp; and the photographer’s grip, where the bird is held by the feet in an upright position.
The banding grip is useful for maneuvering the bird to band their leg safely, and the photographer’s grip is used for taking photographs of birds. While they seem blue in pigment from photographs, tree swallows actually have grey and brown feathers, which appear blue by way of structurally reflecting the light to create the “iridescent blue” hue.