November 12th – Fall 2019: A Brief Overview

Golden Eagle overhead. -SH

This year’s results were the result of a lot of intense work rather than a plethora of birds moving through the site. In fact, it was generally felt that we had a lot of “down time” – periods when the woods seemed empty, that good habitat was going unused when it shouldn’t be. We ended up banding 3,125 birds. Seems like a lot but, going back to 2010, it’s only our 6th highest total. [I use 2010 as that is the year when our net hours increased and became more consistent – retirement.] Month by month it looked like this:
September – banded 1,140 (6th highest)
October – banded 1,658 (8th highest)
November – banded 327 (5th highest)

The price of handling grape-eating waxwings, thrushes, robins and starlings. -NRF

There were some notable achievements:
We banded 93 species – a new Fall record

Compared against a 20 year average we had significantly higher numbers of:
Northern Flicker – 10 (avg. 3.0)
European Starling – 55 (11.35)
Warbling Vireo – – 23 (7.45)
Red-eyed Vireo -157 (57.2 – previous high was 101)
Northern Parula – 16 (1.65)
Black-throated Green Warbler – 31 (12.05)
Blackburnian Warbler – 12 (3.9)
Bay-breasted Warbler – 48 (9.15)
American Redstart – 30 (15.7)
Ovenbird – 29 (14.25)
Common Yellowthroat – 68 (33.95)
Field Sparrow – 21 (8.2)

Hoovering up roadside bird seed. -RG

Our single biggest day was October 25th when we banded 123 (97 of which were American Goldfinches). This is well below the record day of October 12th, 2017 when we banded 342 (379 if you count the non-standard birds). In fact in 6 of the past 10 years we have had 200+ bird days.

One of the two Northern Saw-whet Owls we banded on a Saturday night. -CR

One of the biggest frustrations and disappointments this season was the number of Northern Saw-whet Owls we banded – just 8. Our average, going back to 2010 when we started banding them, is 46.2! This is an irruptive species that this year, for some reason, did not irrupt….

Obviously, the number of birds banded is limited by the amount of time our nets can be open. Rarely did we have a day this Fall when we didn’t open at least a couple of nets for a short time period. Rain severely reduced nets open and in windy conditions we would open only nets in sheltered areas. We generally had very good weather in September and we ran our nets at over 86% capacity. But October’s spate of nasty weather reduced this to ~72%.

For those of you that are interested in the effectiveness of the various net lane placements:
The net lane which caught the most birds was #4 – 640; this is a triple chain net array.
The net lane that was the most effective – had the most birds per 100 net hours – was #5 at 76.8/100 net hrs; this is a single net.

Top Ten:
1. American Goldfinch – 535 (record: 1,316)
2. White-throated Sparrow – 332 (532)
3. Cedar Waxwing – 182 (1,481)
4. Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 161 (323)
5. Red-eyed Vireo – 157 (101)
6. Song Sparrow – 137 (265)
7. Dark-eyed Junco – 113 (327)
8. Myrtle Warbler – 98 (652)
9. Hermit Thrush – 80 (125)
10. Magnolia Warbler – 71 (107)

Celebrating the end of the season marked by the taking down of the nets…..a very hard working group indeed….all season -NRF

A lot of people put in a lot of time to make the season work well – 2,141 volunteer hours!! Wow! I’m not going to list you but…you know who you are. Thanks!!

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