May 18th – Moving Through

Christie Macdonald, co-ordinator of the Canadian Snow Bunting Network, brushing up before leaving for the Arctic.

When I arrived shortly after 5:00, the rain was coming down pretty hard and I thought: “This is going to be a data entry day.” But, no, about an hour and a half (and 150 entries later), the rain stopped and I whipped around and opened most of the nets. Although we never got a big “push”, we did get birds consistently throughout the day: 83 in total – 56 banded and 27 retraps. The thing that was most noticeable was that there were birds on the move high in the trees, especially warblers – not big numbers but good variety. In fact, on the day we encoiuntered 16 species of them: Blue-winged, Nashville, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Myrtle, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Western Palm, Blackpoll, Black & white, Overnbird, Northern Waterthrush, Mourning, Common Yellowthroat, and Canada.

Two ages of feathers in a "young" or SY (Second Year) Rose-breasted Grosbeakl

Young (left) and old male Magnolia Warblers

One of the neat thing about getting birds in the hand is the opportunity to examine plumage differences between “young” birds (i.e., birds in their second year – SY) and “older” birds (birds which are two or more years old or After Second Year – ASY). Male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks show a marked difference in their wing plumages. SY birds have a mix of old, ratty brown feathers and new black ones while ASY birds have all black ones – see picture. Also, note the difference in the two ages of male Magnolia Warblers. The older bird is just so much more bold.

Christie with bird bags made by Bronwen Tregunno - destined for Snow Buntings on Southampton Island.

We were pleased to have a visit from Christie Macdonald, a Master’s student under Oli Love at Windsor. Christie is studying Snow Buntings and is the co-ordinator of the Canadian Snow Bunting Network (which means that she does all of the leg work). She wanted to spruce up her bird handling skills before she leaves for Southampton Island on Friday. She takes with her a bunch of new bird bags that Bronwen Tregunno just made for us a la Loretta Mousseau. She was admiring our bird bags and talking about how she needed some for the Arctic. What could I do!? She put geolocators on a number of Snow Buntings last year so we’re quite excited about the possibility that some of them will return and yield information about where they’ve travelled to throughout the year. I’ll keep you posted (when she keeps me posted).

Banded 56:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
2 Veeries
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
5 Gray Catbirds
1 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Nashville Warblers
5 Yellow Warblers
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
4 Magnolia Warblers
4 Myrtle Warblers
1 Western Palm Warbler
3 Ovenbirds
5 Common Yellowthroats
4 Canada Warblers
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
3 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 Orchard Oriole
2 Baltimore Orioles
5 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 27:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 House Wren
1 Gray Catbird
2 Blue-winged Warblers
6 Yellow Warblers
1 Northern Waterthrush
1 Common Yellowthroat
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
3 Chipping Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
4 Brown-headed Cowbirds

ET’s: 69 spp.


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