Wednesday, October 1, 2014

285 Birds Processed Today!

Wow, what a day!  After several nights of overcast skies, last night was clear and the birds took advantage of the cloudless night.  One of the navigational cues bird rely on for migration is the rotational star pattern which helps a bird orient themselves in a north-south direction.

We banded 274 new birds and had 11 recaptures of 22 different species.  Today was one of the busiest day ever at KIBS,  We surpassed our old record of 272 birds banded on 8 October 2012.  Common Yellowthroats and Gray Catbirds were the stars of the day with 141 and 58 banded, respectively.  We banded several first-of-the-season species:  Eastern Phoebe (2), Philadelphia Vireo (1), Swainson's Thrush (2), and Nashville Warbler (1).

I have to say how happy I am with the way the crew worked today.  It can be extremely stressful when faced with high bird volumes like we had today, but everybody stayed calm and worked together nicely.  Great job, guys!

A stunning after hatch-year male Hooded Warbler is always a treat to see up close.

Hooded Warbler (after hatch-year, male)
If you read yesterday's post, Mattie explained some of the plumage differences between male and female Scarlet Tanagers.  It just so happened that today we captured two males - one hatch-year and one after hatch-year.  The photo below show a hatch-year male.  Note the very black wing coverts, the key characteristics of males.  But if you look closely, you can see the contrast between the very black greater, median, and lesser coverts and the dull black alulas, primary coverts, primaries, and secondaries.  This contrast is called a molt limit, a term you have heard me talk about here many of times.  In fact, this individual has not replaced all of his greater coverts either.  It has retained the outer juvenile greater covert as well.

Scarlet Tanager (hatch-year, male)

In contrast, the photo below depicts an after hatch-year male with jet black wing coverts, primaries, secondaries, and rectrices (tail feathers).  In addition, this bird also had some hidden red feathers on its back and flanks left over from it alternate (breeding) plumage.

Scarlet Tanager (after hatch-year, male)
Scarlet Tanager (after hatch-year, male)

First-of-the-season Nashville Warbler.

Nashville Warbler (hatch-year, female)


1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 "Traill's" Flycatcher
2 Eastern Phoebe
6 White-eyed Vireo
1 Philadelphia Vireo
8 Red-eyed Vireo
2 House Wren
2 Swainson's Thrushes
58 Gray Catbird
1 Black-and-White Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
141 Common Yellowthroat
1 Hooded Warbler
20 American Redstart
19 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 Palm Warbler (Western)
1 Prairie Warbler
2 Scarlet Tanager
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Indigo Bunting
3 Painted Bunting

1 Common Ground-Dove
1 White-eyed Vireo
1 Red-eyed Vireo
6 Gray Catbird
2 Painted Bunting

# of New Birds:  274
# of Recaptures:  11
# of Species:  22
Effort:  154.2 net-hours
Capture Rate:  184.8 birds/100 nets-hours
# of Nets:  20

Aaron Given
Mattie VandenBoom
Matt Zak
Libby Natola
William Oakley
Chris Davies