Monday, November 16, 2015

FOS: Red-breasted Nuthatch!

Captain Sam's
We had a slow morning out at the spit today with 13 new birds and 11 recaptures of 6 species. The majority of our capture, for both new and recaptured birds was Yellow-rumped Warblers, which made up 70 percent of today's birds.

Despite the slow pace we had a few interesting Yellow-rumped Warbler recaptures from previous years. Of the 7 recaptured Yellow-rumped Warblers 6 of them were banded in previous banding seasons. The oldest of these recaptures was banded in November 2011 and has been recaptured at Captain Sam's 5 other times; once in the Fall of 2012, twice in the fall of 2013 and in both the Winter and Fall seasons in 2014. Of the 5 other Yellow-rumped recaptures we had 1 bird from the 2012 Fall season, 2 birds from the Fall season in 2013, 1 bird from the 2014 Fall season and 1 from this past 2015 Winter banding season. The Yellow-rumped banded in 2012 is also a repeat visitor to the Captain Sam's banding site and has been recaptured 3 other times there.

Along with the previous season Yellow-rumped Warbler recaptures we had a very exciting new first of the season catch this morning, a Red-breasted Nuthatch! This bird has been hanging around our banding site right above our table teasing us since Friday so it was nice to finally see him in the hand. Based on this bird's plumage we were able to determine it was a hatch year male. When aging Red-breasted Nuthatches the molt limits within the feather tracts can be hard to see, but they have an easy tell in their flight feathers. Young, hatch year birds will have brownish gray flight feathers that will contrast with the blue-gray on their back, whereas adult birds will have flight feathers that do not contrast markedly in colour with the blue-gray back. The bird we caught was also still replacing it's body feathers and still had fluffy juvenile feathers on its back, flanks and belly. We were able to determine this bird was a male based on the contrast between the back and crown. Hatch year males will have dull black crowns, while females have a gray crown that doesn't contrast greatly from the colour of the feathers on the back.


Red-breasted Nuthatch, you can see the fluffy feathers on the back and flanks as well as the contrast between the brown primaries and the blue-gray feathers of the back (hatch year, male)

Red-breasted Nuthatch, the contrast in color between the crown and back indicates that this is a male (hatch year, male)

Little Bear 
Things were quiet out at Little Bear this morning with only 24 new birds and 7 recaptures, comprised of 8 species.  Surprisingly, of the 8 species we captured today, Gray Catbird was not one of them.  This is the first day since September 18th, the 19th being first day they arrived, that we have not caught a single one.  Luckily, Yellow-rumped Warblers did not abandon us and made up 70 percent of the birds captured. 


  Species Captain Sam's Little Bear
New Recaps New Recaps
Eastern Phoebe - - 1 -
Carolina Chickadee - - - 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 - - -
House Wren - 1 - -
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 2 2 1
Hermit Thrush - - 1 -
Gray Catbird - 1 - -
Orange-crowned Warbler - - 1 -
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 10 7 19 3
Song Sparrow 2 - - -
Swamp Sparrow  - - - 1
Northern Cardinal - - - 1

 Banding Stats Captain Sam's Little Bear TOTAL
# Birds Banded 13 24 37
# of Recaptures 11 7 18
# of Species 6 8 12
Effort (net-hours) 125 78.75 203.75
Capture Rate (birds/100 net-hours) 19.2 39.4 26.99
Nets 25 15 40

Banding Staff
Aaron Given (CS)
Mattie VandenBoom (LB)
Chris Snook (LB)
Nancy Raginski (CS)
Casey Weissburg (LB)
Michael Gamble (CS)
Ryan Donnelly (CS)

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