Thursday, February 2, 2023

Winter Banding - January 2023

Each winter banding occurs roughly every 10-14 days from December -March or April.  This year I didn't get any banding in during the month of December and didn't start until early January.  Three banding sessions occurred in January on the 7th, 18th, and 28th.  Overall the month of January was very busy with lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers.  We banded 652 birds and had 216 recaptures during the 3 banding sessions in January.      

January 7

The morning started off cool with temps in the mid 40's.  Calm winds kept the nets still creating perfect conditions for catching birds.  And birds we did catch!  We banded 249 new birds and had 41 recaptures of 12 different species.  Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere and as a result 241 of them were banded!  The biggest surprise of the day was a Lincoln's Sparrow.  We catch a couple Lincoln's Sparrows during the fall but have never captured one during the winter.  In general, Lincoln's Sparrows are quite rare in SC during both fall and winter.  

Lincoln's Sparrow

January 18

Temperatures were a little warmer than they were on the 7th which may have contributed to the relative "slow down".  We still banded 181 new birds and had 79 recaptures of 16 different species, though.  Yellow-rumped Warblers still dominated the nets with 168 banded and another 52 of them recaptured.  We banded two new males Sharp-shinned Hawks - 1 adult and 1 juvenile.  And our overwintering Ovenbird decided to make an appearance as well.  This Ovenbird was banded back on September 4th and has been recaptured 16 times since.  



January 28

This the was coolest morning of the three days.  Temps overnight hovered around the freezing point which prompted me to delay the opening of the nets by about 30 minutes. Many of the nets that were in more open areas had a thin layer of frost across the top of the furled net.  When the nets were opened, an intricate mosaic of white frost and black netting appeared which resembled a disorganized spider web.  It was another very productive day with 222 new birds and 96 recaptures of 15 different species.  Yellow-rumped Warblers made up 86% of the birds banded with 191.  There were also a lot of American Robins around the site and they were feeding much lower in the vegetation than usual which allowed us to catch 24 of them.  The highlight of the day though was a Cedar Waxwing.  Cedar Waxwings are common to the area but we rarely catch them in our nets as they tend to stay high in the canopy of the trees.  As the winter wanes on and the berries at the tops of the trees will get eaten and the waxwings will start to forage lower in the vegetation giving us a better chance at catching them.  This was only the 5th Cedar Waxwing that we have ever captured.  The first one was banded 3/17/2012 and the other three last winter on 3/29/2022.  Hopefully, this year we will be able to catch more of these berry-gorging birds.  

Cedar Waxwing (second-year, female)

Sharp-shinned Hawks (Second-year female on left, After second-year male on right)

Thanks to all of the dedicated volunteers (Kristin Attinger, David McLean, Ann McLean, Bill Kee, Amy Given, Aidan Given, Jeff Marshall) that helped take all those birds out of the nets and scribe all that data onto the datasheets. 


 Species  Captain Sam'sLittle Bear
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
House Wren
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
Northern Cardinal

2023 Cumulative Winter  
Banding Stats
Captain Sam'sLittle BearTOTAL
# Birds Banded
# of Recaptures
# of Species
Effort (net-hours)
Capture Rate (birds/100 net-hours)
# of Days3--