A Visitor from the US

Above is a photo of a ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres) that I took yesterday at Salines d’Orient. When reviewing my photos in the evening, I noticed it has a flag on its left leg that says PU6. Although it hadn’t occurred to me before, in retrospect it seems obvious that there is at least the potential to see banded birds on St. Martin.

If you live on the island or have visited at different times of year, you’ve probably noticed there are a number of birds that are only here part of the time. The laughing gull is probably one of the most noticeable, but maybe you’ve also noticed that the population of barn swallows on the island has gone from none to roughly a bajillion in the last week or so. St. Martin is a temporary home for many migrating birds that spend the rest of their time in North or South America. I would go so far as to guess that the majority of species that can be seen on the island are migrants.

This turnstone was banded in the US, probably on the Delaware Bay, which is a major stopover point for this species. Adam from EPIC says that he sees banded birds here, particularly ruddy turnstones, on a regular basis. I found a couple places to report banded bird resightings: bandedbirds.org and reportband.gov.

Reporting banded birds is an easy way to get involved in research and protection efforts, and adds some extra excitement to birdwatching. On bandedbirds.org, you can find information about what species are banded and what information to record when you see a banded bird. Obviously, the bands and rings used to identify the bird are important, but it is also valuable to record information about things like the number of birds in the flock and the ratio of banded to unbanded birds.

Saint Martin is just one small island, but seeing banded birds is a reminder that the fate of ponds, wetlands and coastlines here has an impact on animals that live as far away as Canada and Brazil. Good luck spotting some banded birds!

5 Responses to “A Visitor from the US”

  1. Jadira Veen Says:

    Nice-will share

  2. Kristin Cogliani Petrelluzzi Says:

    You are amazing Mark!!!

  3. Mark Yokoyama Says:

    Ha. I’m not amazing. Little bird that flies thousands of miles is amazing.

  4. Kristin Cogliani Petrelluzzi Says:

    I still think that you are pretty amazing and I always will!

  5. Follow-ups: Banded Bird and Wolf Spider | Les Fruits De Mer Says:

    […] have a couple follow-ups to previous posts. The first involves the ruddy turnstone with the banded leg. I heard back from bandedbirds.org, which is indeed still active and receives resightings pretty […]