By Guest Blogger & SFBBO Board Member Debbie Wong
"Wow, hello handsome!” I was talking to the male Townsend’s Warbler that I took out of the bag. It is always a mixture of mystery, surprise, and anticipation when processing (and banding) a bird that you didn’t personally extract from the mist net.
This gorgeous male (see photo below) that we met on February 8 was the first of its species we saw this year, a sign of spring. After so many cancellations and delays due to recent rain and cold temperatures, SFBBO's Coyote Creek Field Station, CCFS, where I have worked as a volunteer bander for over 20 years, is slowly resuming its operation...
Granted, the damage and aftermath of the winter rainstorms are still with us (it's still muddy and too slippery to walk in some net lanes), but banding has partially resumed.
My motivation to become a bird bander was sparked by my love of birds. My continuous commitment is renewed by the big data and the big picture that bird banding information helps us to understand about birds, their habitat, the effects of climate change, and the interconnectedness on the blue planet we all live on. We are all earthlings, like the birds, and borders and nationalities don’t matter when it comes to the earth’s wellbeing.
CCFS is just one of the programs at the San Francisco Bay Observatory, an organization that has been operating in the South Bay for over 40 years. We also conduct other avian research, do tidal marsh restoration, carry out bird colony surveys and monitoring, offer educational programs for school kids, and make our research and data available to university students. SFBBO is a place where everyone can help, can participate, if you have a few hours to spare. Don’t miss our amazing Birdy Hours where science is discussed in a fun and lively manner.
My decades of affiliation with SFBBO began in volunteerism with avian disease prevention. Like so many other volunteers, once you get to know more about SFBBO and its various missions and programs, one can’t help but to participate more. I didn’t know my volunteering as a bird bander would last over two decades, and I didn’t expect to join the Board, as I did in 2021, but I am glad to contribute my experience in high tech management as the Secretary of the Board and as a member of the Board Executive Committee. With the team effort from other Board members, we strive to maintain the core values of SFBBO and to venture into new areas to meet rising challenges, including the impacts of climate change and the need for environmental justice.
After two years on the Board, I am honored and impressed to be working side by side with other Board members, dedicated staff members, and countless volunteers who made SFBBO what it is today. Change is constant. SFBBO isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago, and that’s a good thing. We are currently working on a strategic plan for the next few years. We value your opinion and your participation in shaping our efforts to promote sustainability in the Bay Area and beyond. For more information about how to get involved, please visit our website at www.sfbbo.org.
Wingbeat is a blog where you can find the most recent stories about our science and outreach work. We'll also share guest posts from volunteers, donors, partners, and others in the avian science and conservation world. To be a guest writer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.