February 11th – CSBN Update: SNBU banding in NB

Hi Oliver
I’m attaching some photos of our trapping site at North Tay Farm near
here, as well as a few taken in our back yard (where we have not
trapped as the birds have not returned).
We started trapping a week ago, at the farm where the family has been
feeding snowbirds in front of the house for many winters, apparently.
We started on 4 Feb with a single trap & so far have trapped on 6 days
including this morning. At the start there were a couple of hundred
birds in the flock, but this morning many fewer. We have banded 27
SNBU and have recapped 3 of these, one of them twice. We get about two
an hour and can trap for only an hour or two at a time, though Dorothy
put in about 4 hours yesterday and got 11. 23 are males – where do the
females go??!!

They are very flighty, and many escape; at the start we were losing
3-4 birds for each one we caught, then I realised we had made the
tunnels a bit shorter than in your plan so I lengthened them & now we
lose fewer. I am wondering though whether having the tunnels against
the end walls doesn’t make it easier for birds to get out, just by
following the walls around? Traps I am used to (from long ago, I
admit) had the tunnels mid-way along the wall..

We had been leaving the trap on site with the roof-flaps open so they
could get used to it, but I suspect we should have been taking it away
between sessions so they don’t get so used to it they come & go in &
out even when it is set? Your protocol doesn’t say anything about this
so we’d appreciate some advice on this.

Also this morning we caught a bird with “poxy” feet – I recall
catching chaffinches (at least) with this decades ago in the U.K. The
last page of the pdf attached has close-ups of both this bird’s feet,
compared with a “normal” foot. I wonder if others are seeing this? The
bird seemed fine otherwise, weight 38g, fat 4.

Feel free to use any of this in the blog, I don’t know how to add to
the blog myself..


Tony (& Dorothy)

A.W. Diamond, Ph.D.
Research Professor, Wildlife Ecology
University of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 4400
Fredericton, NB
Canada E3B 5A3
Phone: (506)453-5006 (a.m.), -4926 (p.m.)
Fax: (506) 453-3583

3 thoughts on “February 11th – CSBN Update: SNBU banding in NB

  1. awsome work we are expereincing the exact same IN newliskeard which is in Norhtern ontario with many birds getting out of our traps. Can someone send me some designs as i would like to see some or some photo s of traps as we are about to make 6 more for our project at kerns public school in northern ontario. Especially photos of the entances would be most appreciated. I have been feeling so incompetent when i keep thinking about banders in southern ontario who usually are getting 100 birds an hour. Thanks in advance for all of this and best of luck with the buntings. Almost all of our birds are males as well. And we have had 2 retraps of our own birds so far. Thanks Bruce Murphy

  2. About trap design: the one in the protocol is there because it is the easiest. I, too, lose birds through those tunnels and probably for the reason that Tony suggests above – the birds work their way around the trap until they get to the opening. Our most effective walk-in trap is the same dimensions BUT the 2 tunnels are set in about 3 inches from the sides so that, when the birds work their way around the trap, they simply end up in a tight corner between the tunnel and the sides.

Leave a Reply