Friday, December 4, 2015

2015 Fall Migration Banding Summary

The 2015 fall migration banding season at the Kiawah Island Banding Station ended on Monday. New this year was the addition of a new banding site on the east end of the island - Little Bear.  The two banding sites are located at each end of island about 8 miles apart.  Both sites are situated in coastal scrub/shrub and high marsh habitats, however, the Little Bear site is in an earlier stage of succession. Collectively, we banded 7,140 birds and had 1,533 recaptures of 93 different species at both sites.

CAPTAIN SAM'S (west end)

Nets were opened for a total of 98 days (out of a possible 108) from August 15 - November 30.  We had five more rain days this year compared to last year, including a 3 day stretch (October 3-5) when we received around 20 inches of rain.  In combination with extremely high tides this created catastrophic flooding in the area.  

We banded 4,770 new birds and had 1,124 recaptures of 83 different species.  The most commonly banded species were Common Yellowthroats (1,266), Gray Catbirds (843), and Yellow-rumped Warblers (595).  Those three species combined made up 57% of all the birds banded this season!

We also had a lot of recaptures from birds that were banded in previous seasons.  It will take a while to sort through all those records to determine how many unique returns we actually had as some of those were undoubtedly captured more than once during the fall.

We increased our effort from 11,565.6 to 12,115.8 net-hours despite banding five fewer days than last year.  This increase was due to the addition of 2 new nets bringing us to a total of 25 nets.
We banded 316 fewer birds this fall compared to last year and the capture rate decreased 6.6 birds/100 net-hours from 55.3 last year.  This decrease can partly be attributed to the large decrease in Yellow-rumped Warblers this fall.  For the first time in several years, the capture rate of recaptures also decreased by 2.2 birds/100 net-hours.  The capture rate of recaptures is usually fairly constant only varying by a few tenths each season.

There were 10 days when over 100 birds were banded with 3 of those with over 200 birds banded.  The best day was on October 6th when we banded 436 birds and had 20 recaptures.  This was by far, the biggest day we have ever had at KIBS!    

We banded 2 species never before banded at KIBS:  Black-billed Cuckoo and Lincoln's Sparrow.

There were no vagrants banded this year, but some rare and notable species included Black-billed Cuckoo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Swainson's Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, and Lincoln's Sparrow.  Some notable species absent this year included Eastern Kingbird, Brown Creeper, Wood Thrush, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Canada Warbler.

Top 10 Species Banded at Captain Sam's
1.  Common Yellowthroat (1266)
2.  Gray Catbird (843)
3.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (595)
4.  American Redstart (241)
5.  Red-eyed Vireo (189)
6.  Painted Bunting (147)
7.  Black-throated Blue Warbler (145)
8.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (142)
9.  Prairie Warbler (138)
10.  Northern Waterthrush (101)  


LITTLE BEAR (east end)

 Nets were opened for a total of 57 days (out of a possible 72) from September 7 - November 17.  We had 15 days cancelled due to rain, wind, and/or flooding.  The Little Bear site was shut down from October 3-12 due to extensive flooding of the Ocean Course which is the only way to access the site. This was unfortunate because the days after the rained stopped beginning on October 6, Captain Sam's experienced huge volumes of birds moving through the site.  Little Bear missed out on all this activity but it was sure nice to have all "hands-on-deck" at Captain Sam's during that time.    

We banded 2,370 new birds and had 409 recaptures of 70 different species.  The most commonly banded species were Gray Catbirds (563), Common Yellowthroats (424) and Yellow-rumped Warblers (423).  Those three species combined made up 59% of all the birds banded this season!

We logged 3,552.4 net-hours out at Little Bear this fall.  We started out with 10 nets but that number increased to 16 as the season progressed and we learned more about the site.    

Little Bear had a very good capture rate at 78.2 birds/100 net-hours - much higher than at Captain Sam's.  There were 11 days when over 75 birds were banded with 3 of those days with over 100 birds banded.  The best day was on October 13th when we banded 118 birds and had 5 recaptures.  

We banded 3 species never before banded at KIBS during the fall at Little Bear:  Green Heron, Saltmarsh Sparrow, and Seaside Sparrow.

There were no vagrants banded this year, but some rare and notable species included Green Heron, Eastern Kingbird, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Clay-colored Sparrow, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Seaside Sparrow, and Lincoln's Sparrow.

Top 10 Species Banded at Little Bear
1.  Gray Catbird (563)
2.  Common Yellowthroat (424)
3.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (423)
4.  Painted Bunting (78)
5.  American Redstart (72)
6.  Northern Cardinal (69)
7.  Red-eyed Vireo (68)
8.  Palm Warbler (68)
9.  Swamp Sparrow (66)
10.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (45)

The 2015 KIBS Banding Crew
From left to right:  Aaron Given, Chris Snook, Casey Weissburg, Ryan Donnelly, Sean McElaney, Michale Gamble, Nancy Raginski, and Mattie VandenBoom.

Please excuse my bad attempt at photo-shopping but Sean left before we could get a pic of everybody in the field.  


SPECIES
CAPTAIN SAM’S
LITTLE BEAR
New
Recapture
New
Recapture
Green Heron
-
-
1
1
Sharp-shinned Hawk
5
2
2
1
Cooper’s Hawk
1
-
-
-
Mourning Dove
2
-
-
-
Common Ground-Dove
4
4
10
1
Black-billed Cuckoo
1
-
-
-
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
11
-
11
-
Eastern Screech-Owl
2
1
2
-
Chuck-will’s-widow
2
-
-
-
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
3
-
1
-
Downy Woodpecker
4
8
2
2
Northern Flicker
1
-
-
-
Eastern Wood-Pewee
15
-
1
-
Acadian Flycatcher
-
-
1
-
Alder Flycatcher
1
-
1
-
Willow Flycatcher
1
-
2
-
“Traill’s” Flycatcher
29
-
13
1
Least Flycatcher
2
-
1
-
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1
-
1
1
Eastern Phoebe
37
1
14
-
Great Crested Flycatcher
1
-
-
-
Eastern Kingbird
-
-
1
-
White-eyed Vireo
41
22
20
17
Blue-headed Vireo
10
-
1
-
Red-eyed Vireo
189
27
68
7
Blue Jay
1
1
-
-
Tree Swallow
29
-
-
-
Carolina Chickadee
13
40
17
25
Tufted Titmouse
-
-
2
1
Red-breasted Nuthatch
1
1
-
-
House Wren
45
18
28
4
Marsh Wren
2
-
7
1
Carolina Wren
10
44
17
28
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
7
-
7
-
Golden-crowned Kinglet
8
1
2
-
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
142
23
45
3
Veery
16
4
9
-
Gray-cheeked Thrush
2
-
-
-
Swainson’s Thrush
36
-
10
1
Hermit Thrush
24
15
16
1
Wood Thrush
-
-
1
-
American Robin
3
-
3
-
Gray Catbird
843
398
563
150
Brown Thrasher
16
9
3
-
Northern Mockingbird
14
10
7
3
Ovenbird
30
5
20
2
Worm-eating Warbler
20
2
5
-
Northern Waterthrush
101
7
42
10
Swainson’s Warbler
1
-
-
-
Kentucky Warbler
2
-
-
-
Black-and-White Warbler
41
4
12
1
Prothonotary Warbler
8
1
1
-
Tennessee Warbler
6
-
-
-
Orange-crowned Warbler
8
-
10
-
Nashville Warbler
2
-
1
-
Blue-winged Warbler
1
-
1
-
Common Yellowthroat
1266
74
424
35
Hooded Warbler
3
-
2
-
Wilson’s Warbler
2
-
-
-
American Redstart
241
21
72
10
Cape May Warbler
12
-
3
-
Northern Parula
40
2
4
-
Magnolia Warbler
11
-
2
1
Yellow Warbler
41
-
24
1
Chestnut-sided Warbler
-
-
2
-
Bay-breasted Warbler
1
-
-
-
Blackpoll Warbler
6
-
1
-
Black-throated Green Warbler
-
-
1
-
Black-throated Blue Warbler
145
-
27
-
Palm Warbler (Western)
77
-
68
-
Palm Warbler (Yellow)
1
-
-
-
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
595
108
423
15
Prairie Warbler
138
11
43
1
Yellow-breasted Chat
9
3
6
-
Eastern Towhee
9
9
5
2
Clay-colored Sparrow
-
-
1
-
Chipping Sparrow
1
-
-
-
Field Sparrow
-
-
3
1
Saltmarsh Sparrow
-
-
1
-
Seaside Sparrow
-
-
1
-
Song Sparrow
33
4
30
3
Lincoln’s Sparrow
1
-
1
-
Swamp Sparrow
54
39
66
16
White-throated Sparrow
10
2
3
-
White-crowned Sparrow
2
-
2
-
Summer Tanager
4
1
-
-
Scarlet Tanager
2
-
1
-
Northern Cardinal
48
108
69
46
Blue Grosbeak
2
-
-
-
Indigo Bunting
56
-
17
-
Painted Bunting
147
93
78
17
Brown-headed Cowbird
1
-
-
-
Baltimore Oriole
5
1
7
-
House Finch
5
-
-
-
American Goldfinch
6
-
-
-








BANDING STATISTICS
CAPTAIN SAM’S
LITTLE BEAR
TOTAL
# of Birds Banded
4,770
2,370
7,140
# of Recaptures
1,124
409
1,533
# of Species
83
70
94
Effort (net-hours)
12,115.8
3,552.4
15,668.2
Capture Rate (birds/100 net-hours
48.6
78.2
55.4
# of Nets
25
16
41
# of Days Operated
98
57
-
Dates of Operation
8/15-11/30
9/7-11/17
-


I would like to thank all those that made this season such a great success: the banding assistants (Mattie VandenBoom, Chris Snook, Sean McElaney, Casey Weissburg, Michael Gamble, Nancy Raginski, and Ryan Donnelly); the Kiawah Island Conservancy for providing funding for the hiring and housing of 7 banding assistants; the Town of Kiawah Island for allowing me to take on an extremely time consuming project, and the funding for one banding assistant; Kiawah Partners for allowing access to their property; and finally to all the volunteers that donated their time to either come out and help or just to observe.