Banding Baby Fairy-Wrens

Michelle and I just finished banding three baby Purple-crowned Fairy-Wrens in their nest. They are seven days old and being fed by mom, dad, and a “helper” (Fairy-Wrens are cooperative breeders, remember?) so those babies are getting a lot of attention today!

Each youngster got its own combination of color bands; the tiny bands will stay on for life, and can be forever used to identify individual birds without recapturing them (you can see the colors with binoculars).

The chicks each weighed about eight grams, or a nickel and a half. Their nest, hanging over water in a pandanus tree, was not reachable by land, so Michelle went for a swim in the creek to fetch them to shore, using a tube to safely ferry the baby wrens back and forth. After putting the bands on, taking a couple measurements, and a quick blood sample, the young wrens were back in their nest and being fed again almost immediately.

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