Sunday, December 21, 2014

First Day of Winter

We mostly had recaptures today an most were our "1A" group. Northern Cardinals and Gray Catbirds are two of our most banded species here through the year and both get a 1A band. We also managed to pick up a few more migrants and the number of captured birds was up from the past two weeks, though it was still pretty quiet.

Gray Catbirds tied Cardinals for captures today. One of the first things pointed out to new visitors and banders is an easy way to age Catbirds. When they are born, they have white to pink upper palettes. Once they are fully adult, the palette is solid black. Fortunately, most Catbirds readily bite at your fingers so it is pretty simple to check.

So, this bird is a juvenile.

Gray Catbird

House Wrens are sometimes heard milling about and scolding in the grasses but we are not catching a lot of them, either, this year.

House Wren

Another Gray Catbird poses before being released.

Gray Catbird

The end of the lanes has undergone such a drastic change over the last two months. We have spent some time just trying to figure out if we need to tweak the position of Net 21 or make some other changes. Andrew has been standing near the edge of the net for a few weeks and noticed something consistent. Birds either spot the net coming in from the East (thanks to the early sunlight) or fly high coming from the West as the trees line up straight from one side to another.

Should we just cut things at a lower level? Try to move the net at some weird angle? For now, we cleared out all of the dead Willow branches and the Skunk Vine that was tangled around them. This left us with a fairly open space on the Eastern side. Maybe the birds would be enticed to fly through before swooping upward above the net. Within minutes, a Western Palm Warbler did just that.

Western Palm Warbler

We will have to wait to do a full morning test but that seemed interesting and promising. American Goldfinches and other warblers are feeding out here and this might increase our chances for a while. It will have to wait until 2015, though. We are taking the next week off for Christmas.

It might take moving the entire net placement at some point but at least we can give this spot a chance for a while longer. Until the park decides to scrape out the entire mouth of the river.
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, January 4th.
All nets will be opened by 6:50 A.M.

1 comment:

  1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Andrew. Looking forward to great spring banding posts!