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One unique bird

Female and male Indigo Bunting

It's another milestone for Tom Kashmer, Research Coordinator of Sandusky County Park District. In 2010, Tom banded his 100,000th bird, a feat accomplished by very few individuals around the country.

Tom recently reached a unique place in history when an Indigo Bunting crossed his path on Sept. 28, 2013 at Creek Bend Farm in Lindsey.

The bird was a 'recap', meaning it had already been captured, recorded, banded and released. What makes this unique is that it was previously banded in 2001. It was estimated to have hatched in 2000.  Ironically, the Indigo Bunting was originally banded just down the road (as the buntings fly) on May 23, 2001 by Mark Shieldcastle in Ottawa County. The USGS (United States Geological Survey) has officially certified the encounter as the oldest documented Indigo Bunting in the wild. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology currently lists the oldest known wild Indigo Bunting as 8 years, 3 months. As Tom says, "This record flies way past that."

Indigo Buntings are 4-5" sparrow-sized songbirds commonly seen midsummer on the edges of woods and fields, along roads and streams. Males appear a brilliant, jewel-like blue. Tom says, "Since the birds migrate south each winter, to an area in southern Mexico or northern South America, we're estimating that this Indigo Bunting has traveled approximately 65,000 miles in its lifetime so far." That's an accomplishment for both man and bird.

The public is welcome to help with the research. Check www.LoveMyParks.com or call 419-334-4495 for upcoming opportunities.

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