As a co-op student for the Hilliardton Marsh I experienced lots of training. Before you can extract birds from the mist nests or even pass a bird to another person, you must at least come out to the marsh twice and observe the process of extracting, passing, and banding. After coming out to the marsh on weekends and doing lots of observing, I was first trained on how to pass a bird. This was an easy process and didn’t take long to learn, as long as you have the correct grip on the bird. Next, I was trained on how to extract a bird from a net. As I was taking the bird out for the first time, Mr. Milton was guiding me on how to take the bird out. This procedure is not as easy as it looks, especially your first few times extracting, but it takes practice until you get it right. As you extract birds from the nets, you must make sure you have no buttons or zippers on your hats or coats because you may get caught in the net (Learned from my mistakes).
I spent the next few weeks extracting, freeing birds, and observing the process of banding. After several days of observing the bird banding process, I was able to band my first bird. As I was banding my first bird, another marsh volunteer “Bri” guided me and explained to me the steps of banding. Banding a bird your first time will not be too easy, but then again; practice makes perfect. I am currently being trained on the banding process and identifying birds.
When I am not at the marsh for my co-op I am at Kerns Public School banding snow buntings. There is training I must do at Kerns as well, as I was not familiar with snow buntings and so used to handling Redpolls, Chickadees and Grosbeaks. I had to be trained on how to band, identify and handle the snow buntings. Luckily for me the snow buntings are easier to band and handle because they are bigger than the Redpolls and chickadees. Again, before I was able to band on my own, I had to observe others banding and identifying. After a few days of observing, I was able to band my first snow bunting. As I was banding my first snow bunting, a Kerns student Jaden guided me through the banding steps.
One thing I do not have a lot of experience with is recording the bird data. I am currently in the process of learning how to record data as well as band. I look forward to continue banding, recording data, and working at the marsh. Working at the marsh is a great experience, I had the opportunity to handle and learn about many different birds.