BIRDING: Harbor Herons Project

     For the Img_0599past few years, the Meadowlands Commission and a bunch of volunteers have been helping New Jersey Audubon and New York City Audubon with a project called the Harbor Herons Project.

    The object is to study the foraging behavior of egrets and herons that roost on the East River and near Staten Island to see if the birds from different nesting colonies are foraging at different sites and to see how the birds use the metropolitan landscape, including the Meadowlands.

   This year, researchers have banded several birds and put transmitters on some in an effort to keep track of their travels. Img_0598

   Some of those birds — great egrets, and double-crested cormorants, have been seen in the Meadowlands — and the great egret’s radio signals have been picked up here.

   You can help the research by keeping your eye out for banded/transmitter birds.

    The photo on the left is of a great egret youngster with a silver band on its right leg and a transmitter on its left leg  (image  enlarged on right).

   Kate Ruskin of NJ Audubon sums up the progress:

   * 17 great egret fledglings radio-tagged (transmitter is below right:Img_0796
      – Black letters on white
      – Positioned on the left leg, above the joint with the antenna pointing down (they’re small, less than 3% of their body weight, but visible)

   Click "Continue reading" immediately below to learn more.

    * 10 glossy ibis fledglings color-banded:
    – Black letters on white
    – Positioned on the left leg, above the joint

    * 700 double-crested fledglings banded (they’re not one of our focal species, but I’m sure you see plenty of them cavorting with herons):
    – Black letters on orange
    – Positioned on the right leg, between the joint and the foot. (No cormorants have transmitters.)

   "One of our volunteers recently saw a tagged great egret at DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst," says Ruskin, "and I just picked up one’s radio signal at Harrier Meadow [in North Arlington this week! 
   "The birds are out there and just waiting to be spotted by you, our fastidious volunteers! We’re really looking forward to more sightings.  Please e-mail me as soon as possible if you see one of our birds.
   "If you see tagged birds that don’t match these descriptions, please also let me know. 
   "We work with scientists up and down the Northeast and can get the information to the right people."



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