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Sunday, 19 May 2019

Bird Banding at SpruceHaven 18 and 19 May 2019


18 May 2019

     May has been unseasonably cold this year, and today was no exception. It was a mere 4 degrees when I left home to meet Kevin at the nets. As it turned out he was there a little ahead of me (as he often is) and was just returning with the first captures of the day.
     It seemed appropriate that at the peak of migration the first bird caught was a Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica).



     The second bird was also a warbler, a Myrtle Warbler (Setophaga coronata), a species sometimes referred to as a Yellow-rumped Warbler and shown as such in many field guides. Birds in the east have a yellow throat and birds in the west a white throat. Previously lumped together as Yellow-rumped Warbler, each form is now considered a distinct species, with the western bird called Audubon's Warbler (Setophaga auduboni).



     Flycatchers in the genus Empidonax are notoriously difficult to identify in the field (some species virtually impossible) but when the bird is subjected to the measurements normally taken at a bird banding station, the identification can be clinched based on biometrics, as was the case with this Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus).



     Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) seem to be especially abundant this year and we captured this female.





     It was bent on letting Kevin know that it was not happy!


     The female of a Black-throated Blue Warbler (Setophaga caerulescens) is quite drab as compared with the more colourful male.




     There is nothing dull about a Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia), however.




     I would be remiss if I did not mention that we were joined by Laura Lawlor and her daughter, Aberdeen, who thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were able to explore the wonders of SpruceHaven. Jonathan Wilhelm also visited for the first time and expressed a desire to return. 
     Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of these guests but I will rectify that omission when they visit for a second time.

All species banded 18 May: Traill's Flycatcher (1), Least Flycatcher (1), Baltimore Oriole (2), Common Yellowthroat (2), Chestnut-sided Warbler (1), American Redstart (2), Magnolia Warbler (1), Black-throated Blue Warbler (1), Myrtle Warbler (1). Total: 12 individuals of 9 species.

19 May 2019

     The forecast was for considerably warmer weather than we have been experiencing; early morning was still cool but it did start to warm up through the day. We were all glad to feel a little warmth in the sun's rays.
     An Alder Flycatcher (Empindonax alnorum) was one of our early catches, probably just passing through here on its way north.



     We do not encounter many Orchard Orioles (Icterus spurius) in our area, so to find three individuals, two males and a female, in the same net, along with a male and female Baltimore Oriole was quite remarkable.


Orchard Oriole male


Orchard Oriole female and male
     Kevin and Heather were sharing the banding duties so in each instance we were able to hold the female and male of the species together.



Baltimore Oriole male and female


     A Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca) is an exceptionally handsome species. Caught in the sunlight flitting around in a tree it can look as though its throat is aglow.



        Several visitors came to enjoy the morning's activities, including our old friend Vashti Latchman, with her children Roddy and Raya. 




     Roddy is a tremendously keen young bird enthusiast, with knowledge far beyond his years. We have been spotting a pair of Green Herons (Butorides virescens) on the pond and this morning Roddy located their nest. Well done, Roddy!





     Judy Wyatt made her first visit of the spring to observe the banding and displayed her usual keen interest, in addition to helping out whenever possible.


     As often happens, we need to consult "Pyle," the bander's bible, for finer points of sexing and aging.


     Questions about this Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) occupied Heather's attention......


     .....until she found the answers she was looking for.


     We were fortunate in catching a couple of very nicely marked Magnolia Warblers.



          As has already been noted we have been catching several flycatchers, and this Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris) was our final member of this family, retrieved from the nets just before furling them for the day.


     If my memory serves me correctly, we have only ever caught one Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) so to trap this female was especially pleasing.



     This species breeds locally so it may be an indication that it is breeding at SpruceHaven.
     Next weekend will be our final session of the spring. I hope we will have exciting birds for you to see then.

All species banded 19 May: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (1), Alder Flycatcher (2), Least Flycatcher (2), Common Yellowthroat (3), American Redstart (2), Magnolia Warbler (3), Blackburnian Warbler (2), Black-throated Blue Warbler (1), Black-throated Green Warbler (1), Baltimore Oriole (2), Orchard Oriole (3), Indigo Bunting (1). Total: 23 individuals of 12 species.

56 comments:

  1. Hello, awesome photos of the Warblers and Orioles. The Flycatchers are great birds too. Looks like a successful banding to me. It is great to see the young birders too. Enjoy your day! Wishing you a happy new week!

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  2. They certainly don't seem impressed to be caught and banded! :)

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  3. I have no idea how banding is done, so forgive my ignorance. How do you catch the birds? You mention nets. It must be quite exciting to hold so many different birds. The orchard oriole is stunning. We only have hooded orioles here, they are chatty birds and are wild for my grape jelly. Just recently my friend and I discovered a nest of Green herons at our lake - we were so excited!

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    1. We set up a net of a fine mesh, invisible (under good conditions) to the bird. They fly into it and are trapped. We make the circuit of the nets at no more than twenty minute intervals to retrieve the birds.

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  4. What a lovely collection of little birds you caught for banding. I particularly like that small Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - such a pretty bird.

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  5. What absolute beauties. Thank you and everyone else involved in this important work.

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  6. I loved the orioles and the common yellowthroats

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  7. The birds are absolutely gorgeous. It's nice to see the volunteers donating their time to do bird-banding and enjoying the process. Excellent photos and thanks to everyone who participated. Work well done and appreciated.

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  8. How wonderful to be able to get so close to these little guys. The orioles are always so pretty to see flying about with sunny yellow tones. We have not seen an indigo bunting before until recently when an unidentified very blue bird showed up in our yard. After Googling, we realized what it was. The blue was incredible.

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  9. Wow! A very close look at some beauties! Some of these I have never found!!

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  10. Can members of the public participate in this? It looks like a lot of fun.

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    1. If a licensed bander with appropriate permits is willing to take you under his tutelage you can participate, otherwise you may observe but not take part.

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  11. Birds in the hand really are wonderful. Roll on retirement!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  12. I really enjoyed seeing the banding process and all the other projects going on there. Thank you Dave for taking the time to give the tour.

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  13. Hari om
    Always enjoy your annual banding report...and accompanying photos!!! YAM xx

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  14. Lovely collection of birds and your work continues. What a darling young girl there, lovely photo of her.
    Won't mention your 4 deg.

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  15. Such a privilege to see birds in such detail, even in photographs.

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  16. Det var verkligen kallt hos er, vi har också haft det ovanligt kyligt i början av maj men nu har värmen återvänt. Det jag tänkte på var främst de insektätande fåglarna och hur de skall hitta mat till sina småttingar.
    Mycket fina bilder du har tagit på fåglarna David, inte ofta man får se dem så nära med alla fina detaljer.
    Hägern tycks vara en mästare i att dölja sitt bo, bra gjort av den unge mannen att upptäcka det.
    Här har nu stararna ungar, det hände i lördags. Vi tycks ha fyra bosättningar i år, riktigt bra resultat. Man ser omedelbart när ungarna är födda, nu går det åtta starar och pickar i gräsmattan i stället för fyra.

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  17. I'm always so impressed of the children's interest. They must get a hobby for life. 4 degrees isn't very warm in the end of May...

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  18. Preciosas capturas amigo David. Qué gran labor la realizada, gracias a gente como vosotros que de manera desinteresada capturan y anillan aves para poder efectuar un seguimiento y así poder establecer las rutas de inmigración de muchas de ellas. Gracias a todos vosotros se obtienen muchos datos que antes eran totalmente desconocidos. Jugáis un papel sumamente importante y trascendental en esa gran cadena, gracias por todo ello.
    Recibe un fuerte abrazo de tu siempre amigo Juan desde tierras mediterráneas.

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    1. Muchas gracias por tus amables palabras, amigo Juan.

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  19. Hi David.

    Beautiful all these little birds.
    It is good that it is being monitored with the ringing of the birds.

    Greeting from Patricia.

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  20. Once again an interesting report David. The climate is full of surprises these days. Temperatures with us are mostly lower than the average, nature seems to be a bit behind schedule compared with the average of many years. Anyway, you show that birding was once again worth doing it, offering you a good chance to see a lot of interesting birds from nearby.
    Greetings, Kees

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  21. It looks as if all concerned had a great time, David, but I'm not so sure about Raya!! I can see that such sessions are a wonderful way of learning more about these little gems of nature - for adults and children alike.

    My love to you and Miriam - - - Richard

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    1. Maybe I just caught her in a pensive moment, Richard. She was very happy to be there. And she is CUTE!!!

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  22. Some wonderful species trapped, especially like the Chestnut-sided Warbler, what a stunner!

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  23. Hello David, Good heavens what a lot of different birds you all manage to give rings. Amazing! Glad to read the weather improved as well and you enjoyed some sun and warmth.
    Warm regards,
    Roos

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  24. My favourite is the Baltimore Orioles, it is beautiful David.

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  25. David, you and your friends were able to give rings to so many birds. A Blackburnian Warbler is truly a very beautiful bird and other birds are also very precious and special.

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  26. Hello friend David,
    it with you only 4 degrees brrrrr ........ cold though hihi ...
    You start with a very nice sparrow and the colors and its design are really great. The birds below are again enjoying great enjoyment and the ohhhhs and ahhhhhs come out of my mouth again. Really, your birds are so much more colorful than ours /. Simply beautiful.
    Very nice that the children also come to watch the birds.
    And you can use all the help with the rings :-) I again enjoyed all these beautiful birds.

    Have a very nice week my friend xx

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  27. Hello David,
    Fantastic opportunity to see these beautiful birds up close!
    Thank you for sharing!
    Best regards,
    Maria

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  28. It doesn't sound too warm!
    Lovely to see all the different birds in your photographs, and how nice to have children there too watching and learning.

    All the best Jan

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  29. Wat een prachtpost. Ik heb er zo van genoten. Dank je wel.

    It was really nice to see all those birds. Never seen them here in Europe. Thanks

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  30. beautiful! You guys must be very gentle with them. They seem very comfortable in your hands :)

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  31. Hola David.

    Evidentemente la primavera les provee a todos ustedes de una gran cantidad de hermosos pajarillos, además si también los puedes disfrutar en compañía de los niños más no se puede pedir. Bueno sí, que aniden, saquen los pollos adelante y que regrese la pareja el año que viene.

    Un abrazo desde Galicia, España,

    Rafa.

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  32. Lovely, David!
    I enjoyed the photos indeed,

    Ida

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  33. Maravilloso día con una gran variedad de pájaros. Me encanta verlos. Muchos besos.

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  34. So interesting to see in close up the birds you were ringing and it is always good to see young people so engaged in the natural world.

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  35. Such beautiful birds! The magnolia warbler in your photo must be the masked superhero among birds. :)

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    1. It's funny that you mention superhero, Sara. One of the children who visited SpruceHaven recently told me that he plans to be a superhero for the birds when he grows up.

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  36. Except for the one bird, they all appear calm when you are handling them. I wonder if that is really the case. Their legs look so fragile.

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    1. Hi Helen: I suspect that they are a little stressed, but not close to what they experience when known predators are around.

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  37. Those magnolia warblers are pretty dazzling, aren't they? We see quite plain birds here -- or at least the ones I've spotted. It's a good day to see a blue jay, cardinal or goldfinch! I just love that you band these birds. The photos are exquisite.

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  38. A couple of rewarding sessions there David. Those birds look so different from their mostly dulled autumn colours or the juveniles. I see the splitters are busy in your part of the world too by way of the Yellow-rumped and no doubt others too? Just think, without all these discoveries about genetics and DNA we would all have much shorter life lists. But then the question becomes whether it is cheating to count two ticks on the basis of one sighting?

    The Indigo Bunting is rather smart but I'm surprised you don't catch more. As I recall, we caught a number at LP, including some rather nice blue ones.

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  39. Hi Phil: We had a nice male Indigo Bunting in the backyard this morning. I think that the reason we don't catch more is that they tend to forage higher than the nets.

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  40. Hi David,
    Such a variety of birds ringed by your group.
    The Orchard Oriole is certainly a beautiful bird.
    Good to see the children again at the ringing session even if it was that cool.
    All the best, John

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  41. Oh, David - the variety of birds in this post is amazing - I sit here and wonder if this diversity is down at my stream, and I am just not wise enough to spot it? I am more inspired than ever to connect with local birders so that I can learn more about the tips and tricks of bird-watching! Thanks for sharing this with us, and all that you do to ensure these species thrive!

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  42. Wow, how beautiful these birds are ... especially orchial oriale.

    It's fortunate that you have these beautiful and tame birds

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  43. So many beautiful birds and although it is an unusual situation for them, they seem calm.
    Greetings
    Maria
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

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  44. Çok güzel kuşlar.
    Sizi takip ettim . Bloğuma bekliyorum

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  45. Hi David - finally got here ... and it's always a pleasure to read through. The orchard oriole is quite amazing ... beautiful. Thanks for letting us see - cheers Hilary

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