Bird in hand research in Upper Clark Fork shows elevated levels of metals

A phlebotomist pokes an arm to find a viable vein. Sometimes the subsequent stick yields nary a drop of blood.

Imagine drawing a blood sample from the brachial vein of a fidgety song sparrow.

Ten-year-old Danny Richards releases a clay-colored sparrow as he and others attend a bird banding demonstration by avian ecologists from the University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab on July 29 near Galen along the Upper Clark Fork River.

Meagan Thompson, The Montana Standard

It happened July 29 along the Clark Fork River where the stream meanders beneath the Galen Road.

It was a bird in the hand morning.

Avian ecologists Megan Fylling and Holly Garrod of the University of Montana Bird Ecology Lab, along with doctoral student Bridger Creel and others set mist nets amid streamside willows in the early morning to capture, examine and band migratory songbirds before setting them free.

They netted sparrows of different types and willow flycatchers.

They worked along a stretch of the Clark Fork River not yet remediated through federal Superfund oversight. The river and its floodplain were badly contaminated during a 1908 flood by

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