Photos: Band of feathers

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

An already tagged bird from one of 22 Pine Bush Preserve nets.

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Chris Standley holds a juvenile robin in his hand, showing the band that will allow the bird to be tracked to see if mating occurs in that section of the Pine Bush. 

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

The age of the bird is determined by fanning the wing feathers to see any new molts budding out. 

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Amanda Dillon untangles an already tagged bird.

Like the canary in the coalmine, birds serve as sentinels for contaminants that can harm entire ecosystems, according to Evan Adams, of the Biodiversity Institute.

Working with MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship), the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission is catching birds in mist nets so that they can be banded, released, and tracked. The Pine Bush Preserve has two of hundreds of stations that stretch across the continent. One in eight bird species is at risk of extinction, according to a Birdlife International report.

In 10 mornings, preserve workers banded more than 300 birds and recorded weights, measurements, and ages of the birds. The data show the preserve’s pine barrens support robust populations of many birds declining in the Northeast, including the prairie warbler, brown thrasher, and eastern towhee.

 

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Albany County is looking for answers from the Tennessee Gas Pipeline and its parent company, Kinder Morgan. Both the county legislature and New Scotland Town Board  have passed resolutions calling for information sessions.

Raymond Perry can replicate the sound of an owl.

Concerned about the cost of identifying outlawed chemicals, the county executive will set a public hearing before he decides if he will sign a bill banning sale of toxic toys in Albany County.