Jarrod Santora, professor at the college of Staten Island, is an ornithologist, a person who studies birds. In this WILD TV video segment, Jarrod explains the banding system. The band is an aluminum ring with a unique nine-digit number on it. No two birds have the same numbers on their bands, so ornithologists can easily identify the bird. Jarrod uses all of his senses to study birds. When birds are netted and caught, Jarrod weighs them and records their age and other important information. Data or information is collected to determine how and where birds live. For more about the study of birds, see the segment "Jarrod Studies Birds."
Animal science, environmental studies, career education
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What are the differences between fact and opinion? What are the differences between fiction and nonfiction?
Focus (ELA) Watch this video to determine if it is fiction or nonfiction and which comments are facts and which are opinions.
Follow Up (ELA) Is this video fiction or nonfiction? How do you know? Sometimes it is difficult to know the difference between facts and opinions. How would you describe your understanding of the differences? How do the concepts of fiction and nonfiction relate to understandings of facts and opinions?
Frame (SCI) What is an ornithologist? What does he or she do?
Focus (SCI) Learn how ornithologists band birds and how they learn about birds from this procedure.
Follow Up (SCI) Ornithologists keep databases or records filled with important information about birds. Discuss what can be learned from tracking birds over time and recording data about them. What might we learn about our ecology and the effects of industrialization, for example?
Jarrod: There's so many different types that we that we see in a particular area, I might go out bird watching and see like 30 species walking along a strip on the side of the road. They're all sharing different spots and they eat at a different level of the tree, so they'll be isolated from each other and avoid competition because they're gonna be feeding on different food types.
Jarrod: I've actually never seen this bird before myself. This is a yellow-breasted chat. This bird is a hatch-year bird, meaning that it was born this year.
Jarrod: You can identify it by the yellow breast up to the throat, and generally what we look at is the wing. It gives you an idea of how old it is, because birds, they go through different molt cycles and they get different feather shapes as they get older.
Jarrod: This is an example of what we place on its leg. It's a little aluminum ring. It's so loose, it can move back and forth. No bird will have this number that's printed on this ring.
Jarrod: It's a nine digit number and this bird will go into a database at the US Fish and Wildlife Service. It's now a record.
Jarrod: Banding them has gained some good information about their vital rates - estimates of how long they live for, how many chicks they produce?
Jarrod: People all over North America are doing the same sort of deal. They're all catching birds. There's also people in the tropics, banding these birds who are migrating there, to and from South and Central America and they're actually collecting the same sort of data that we are.
Birder: Let's weigh the guy as I put him in a coffee cup. Weight is 21.4 grams.
Jarrod: Having the bird in the hands and having books right there, you learn very fast. You learn all the neat little identification features and when you see them in the wild, you look for those same features. I look for this coloration. I listen for that call that it's giving right now.
Jarrod: I look at the beak. I mean, I can smell certain birds when they're around. I can smell black-crowned night herons when they're in the shrubs. I can smell their particular odor and know that they're in there. So I learn to use all my sense basically from studying birds.
Jarrod: This is one of the largest woodpeckers in North America, called a yellow-shafted flicker.
Jarrod: Oh, this is the guy that just got away from me. C'mon.
Off-Camera Voice: Is it really?
Jarrod: I'm not making this up. It's the number I memorized. It's 6-5-9. I just did this one right here.
Jarrod: The migratory birds, they're sort of just moving through our area. They need a place to stop over and rest and get some energy while they're migrating down the East Coast.
Jarrod: One thing that we have to keep in mind is that the resident birds, they stay with us all year-round. We want to maintain habitat. We don't want to get too out of hand with over-development and knocking down forests and just building more highways, because the more we fragment a forest or cut it up into patches, some birds can't cope with that.
Jarrod: I started building, you know, a database so I can arrange this data and determine what are the effects of forest fragmentation, what are the effects of human encroachment.
Jarrod: But this data needs to be collected. It can't just be speculated. What I'm actually doing is getting this data and analyzing different reproduction values. And that's a really key determinant in seeing how well these birds live their lives.
Jarrod: Then releasing it is like, one of my favorite parts. I like to release them, let them go out of my hands and know that there's a chance that I may see it again.
Jarrod: It's a really novel design to be able to fly around in space and time to go from point A to point B. Birds are just really not held down by any boundaries.
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