How many Cornell students does it take to modify a mist net?

The answer: about half a dozen over the course of 5 hours.  Our goal was to take two “goosed” mist nets (meaning that they have holes in them from being tangled by geese at the Ponds) and convert them into modified nets – one low, long net with only two tiers (mist nets usually have four) and one very short but very tall net with eight tiers.  (Mist nets, for those who don’t know, a very thin nets used to catch birds for banding or other types of research.  They’re very hard to see, which is why birds sometimes fly into them, and they don’t hurt the birds).
Mo Verhoeven from the swallow crew showed us how to carefully snip the damaged parts away and thread new lines through the easily-tangled, thin black netting.  It was a painstaking process (the idea of burning uncooperative mist nets came up more than once) but in the end we came out with two decent modified nets, which will hopefully assist in catching pittas and Bornean Bristleheads.

Holding the nets taught was the only way to thread them without encountering problems (major problems, anyway).

Eric carefully threads a new line through the net, using a broken pencil (a state-of-the-art net modifying device courtesy of Mo Verhoeven)

Discarded mist net material enhances Eric’s hairdo (to Mo’s amusement)



About Teresa Pegan

I'm a rising sophomore at Cornell majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I've loved watching birds since I was little, and I'm looking forward to my first visit to the tropics. With me in my profile picture is an adorable lost baby Common Eider which I helped rescue on Appledore Island this summer during one of Cornell's Shoals classes.
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