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Boreal Community Media

Grand Marais resident asks local bird watchers to keep an eye out for banded Chickadees

Jan 11, 2023 09:19AM ● By Content Editor
Image: Patrice Bouchard 

From Boreal Community Media - January 11, 2023


One of the joys of winter is being able to watch the Black-capped Chickadees hopping around bird feeders. These often lively birds provide an energetic setting in what is normally a more quiet time of the year. 

One Grand Marais resident is providing an opportunity to spend more time watching these fun birds at your own feeders.

Joe Lutz, a licensed bird bander, started banding Black-capped Chickadees as an extension of a 3+ year Chickadee study at Wolf-Ridge Environmental Learning Center and Sugarloaf Cove. 

Boreal Community Media reached out to Lutz to learn more about the project and what we can do to help. 

"I just started banding Black-capped Chickadees at my house on 8th West Ave with a federal band and a PIT tag," he said. 

A PIT tag is also known as a Passive Integrated Transponder, which is a tag that does not require power or a battery. Instead, it contains a microchip that gets 'scanned' when it passes by a reader. 

Lutz says that it is similar to a credit card reader. 

When it comes to the Chickadees, once a bird passes a reader (must be within an inch), an antenna will make a time stamp on the tag. 

"I hope to map feeder use around the Grand Marais area by enlisting community members to watch their feeders for banded Chickadees and let me know if they see them." 

Lutz added that if you are seeing a lot of them over the course of a few days, he can place a tag reader by the feeder to help identify which of the banded birds are showing up. 

If you see a Chickadee with a red plastic band around its leg in the Grand Marais area, you can contact Joe Lutz at 612-978-1113.