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      Nature Report: Bird Banding

      Carefully removing a Lincoln sparrow that has just flown into his mist net, Mark Conway of Harlingen will next band the bird and record a series of measurements before releasing it.

      He has been banding birds for nearly 15 years, and is one of several thousand licensed bird banders in the United States and Canada.

      Mark Conway, Bird Bander, "I am up to almost 9,000 banded and another 1500 that I have recaptured." The work Conway and other bird banders accomplish provides valuable insight into the lives of birds including helping to establish migration routes, habitat fidelity and longevity in the wild. Conway, "No other bird in North America will have this band number, and so we will get the band on him|I will take some measurements, and then we will let him go." Conway has been banding birds on Mary Jo Bogatto's Cactus Creek Ranch east of Rio Hondo for several years, and she recently received a state environmental education award from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality." Mary Jo Bogatto, Owner Cactus Creek Ranch, "Mark is a regular. He comes out, and he has helped teach some of the high school and elementary schools more about bird banding and conservation and the importance about having property like this dedicated to conservation." Next up, Conway has a Tennessee warbler. Conway, "This little guy probably flew across the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, and he is trying to recharge, get a few calories in him and then get ready and be going north." After recording all the pertinent data, Conway gently releases the little bird which weighs just over eight grams or approximately the equivalent of three pennies." Conway, "It's hard to describe. These guys are so cool. They do things that we couldn't even imagine." With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore