Windy, windy, windy. The nets were open for 4.5 hours today until we had to close down early because the wind just got too strong to band. We still managed to band 71 new birds with 9 recaptures of 14 different species. The Bird-of-the-Day goes to a BROWN CREEPER. We have never banded a Brown Creeper before at KIBS! Brown Creepers are regular winter visitors to South Carolina but are rarely seen on Kiawah Island, so it was a real treat to see one in the hand.
Brown Creepers are notoriously difficult to age after they have completed their first prebasic molt. Some banders have hypothesized that the amount of white at the tips of the primary coverts could indicate age. Small white spots would indicate hatch-year, while large white spots would be an after hatch-year. The jury is still out on this but if it is correct than this bird would have been a hatch-year (as seen in the last photo).
I also found an old paper from North American Bird Bander (Jan.-Mar. 1976) that said a wing chord less than 62mm would indicate female and a wing chord greater than 65mm would indicate a male. This bird had a wing of 61.5 mm, so it may be a female.
|Brown Creeper (hatch-year?, female?)|
|Brown Creeper (back)|
|Brown Creeper (tail)|
|Brown Creeper (wing)|