When I look back over my archived wildlife images, I often wonder what became of the animals I photographed. I think about how, in most cases, I captured just a moment of their entire story. The rush of what they experience on their flyways and byways must feel like ten lifetimes in one. I always hope that they’re thriving somewhere, getting enough mud worms, finding a mate, raising their kids, and staying away from harm.
So, when I come upon a banded bird, it’s an opportunity to get a bigger piece of that missing life story. I photographed this banded American Avocet a few years back but never posted about her. It’s difficult, and sometimes impossible, to see the whole number on these small, federal bands if you don’t have the chance to shoot multiple angles. I was fortunate to have enough time with her, to capture several different images of the leg band. That turned out to be key in my exchange with the banding office.