One of the projects that I’m working on at my internship is a bird banding project.

Basically it consists of me, Courtney, Adam, and the community bird bander Al, waking up every Thursday morning before sunrise to set up mist nets and banding birds for the next six hours.

If you have more questions about bird banding, check out pHoto pHriday (Week #2) for a more descriptive overview as to what exactly bird banding is.

When we initially went to Al’s house to see bird banding for the first time we went there to watch him band because bird banding does actually require training and certification, so at the time Courtney and I were not able to do anything but watch.

(Adam also has certification for bird banding so he was able to assist Al that day).

But as this project developed, it became clear that Courtney and I would have to learn bird banding, all the way from setting up the nets to taking down the nets six hours later and everything in between. Otherwise it would be six hours of us watching Adam and Al do everything.

So Al taught us how to set up the nets and how to grab hold of the bird from the bag it was in and how to process information about the bird and how to release the bird and every little thing a bird banding session entails.

Let me take the time to go on the record in bold faced, highlighted, italicized font, to say that bird banding is not easy. There is a reason why certification is required. If you ever see somebody bird banding, have mad respect for them and if you ever get the opportunity to try bird banding, take it. It’s an experience many people don’t get to have.

Bird banding, since your working with multiple live animals at once, can be a very fragile process and one wrong move could result in a bird escaping, a mist net being destroyed, or worse case scenario, a bird being harmed.

(By the way, mist nets are about $100 each).

While working with Al, whenever we got stuck on something, like putting up a net or holding a bird, he would always say,

“Don’t panic.”

~ Al Eibel

I think that’s sort of just his saying but I’ve come to really enjoy it.

And I think I like it because it genuinely is a good piece of advice whenever anything goes wrong.

Like when you forget the amusement park ticket at home but you’ve already arrived at the park or when the airplane you’re on has taken off and you realize you’ve left your cell phone charging in the terminal.

Anyway, I don’t mean to over-analyze it, but generally speaking, don’t panic because if you’re panicking you’re not thinking.


Housekeeping Note: Extra credit for anybody who can tell me in the comments below as to what book is closely associated with the phrase “DON’T PANIC”. The answer will be in the Housekeeping Note of next week’s post.

Hint: The book is a type of guide book.

Also, a new secret project has been revealed on the Secret Projects page. Check it out, linked below.

Secret Project #081216

One thought on “DON’T PANIC

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