Monday, September 15, 2014

Big Day at the Banding Station!

We had a great day of banding with 117 new birds and 5 recaptures of 12 different species.  Common Yellowthroats dominated the nets with 61 of them banded.  Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireos also had a good showing with 17 and 11 banded, respectively.  Empidonax flycatchers finally showed up with 7 banded today (1 Acadian, 1 Alder, 1 Willow, and 4 "Traill's").  As I have discussed here before, Empidonax flycatcher are notoriously difficult to identify outside of the breeding season when they are not singing.  They all virtually look identical and a series of tedious measurements are needed to determine species.  It is even more difficult to separate Alder and Willow Flycatchers.  Oftentimes even after taking the measurements, you still cannot separate them and they have to go down as "Traill's" Flycatchers.

We also had 2 first-of-the-seasons:  Summer Tanager and Blue Grosbeak.  The photo below is of an after hatch-year male Summer Tanager showing off its striking red plumage.  We don't catch many Summer Tanagers at KIBS and this is the first adult male that we have ever banded.       

Summer Tanager (after hatch-year, male)

We actually banded two Summer Tanagers today but this one looks very different.  Females and young males are more of a yellow or yellow/orange color in the fall.  We were able to determine that this bird was a male based on the very bright yellow undertail coverts.

Summer Tanager (hatch-year, male)  

We aged and sexed this Blue Grosbeak as an after hatch-year female.  Notice how worn and ragged all the feather are on the wing coverts and back.  Adult Blue Grosbeaks do not undergo their prebasic molt until they reach their wintering grounds so their feathers will appear very worn during the fall.

Blue Grosbeak (after hatch-year, female)

1 Acadian Flycatcher
1 Alder Flycatcher
1 Willow Flycatcher
4 "Traill's" Flycatcher
11 White-eyed Vireo
17 Red-eyed Vireo
4 Ovenbird
1 Northern Waterthrush
1 Black-and-White Warbler
61 Common Yellowthroat
6 American Redstart
5 Prairie Warbler
2 Summer Tanager
1 Blue Grosbeak

1 Ovenbird
2 Common Yellowthroat
1 Prairie Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal

# of New Birds:  117
# of Recaptures:  5
# of Species:  12
Effort:  120.0 net-hours
Capture Rate:  101.7 birds/100 net-hours
# of Nets:  20

Aaron Given
Mattie VandenBoom
William Oakley
Libby Natola
Matt Zak

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