On June 4th I participated in a bird banding experience which is one f the Citizen Science projects at the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont. This is just one of the many platforms they use to educate the community about the importance of conservation and our natural heritage. I can’t think of a better way to give children an appreciation for the environment than having them participate, hands-on with wildlife. After the birds are captured in safe nets, they are examined and banded with a unique number. If the bird is already banded, the number is recorded and use to track migration patters to learn how to better protect the species habitat. For Louisiana Waterthrush they use special color bands so that they can be identified from a distance. These are especially important locally as a measure of the effect of the loss of Hemlock trees along stream banks due to the woolly adelgid.
Driving home from Tremont, I noticed a Killdeer beside the road and took the opportunity to photography it. I was surprised as I crawled closer that it did not fly away. Then I was even more surprised to see that is was nesting with several eggs. I quickly left it in peace so as not to disturb it and hope it will be successful where it chose to nest.