We had great hopes for the banding session held on Saturday Oct.16th and the start was not disappointing. A clear sky and cool temperatures were perfect for the morning. We set just 2 nets until we were sure how many volunteers would be there and the first net check found 14 birds in one net. A flock of Dark-eyed Juncos kept us busy and we thought we'd have a banner day until...the wind started.
Our net lanes were out in exposed areas and they looked like the spinnaker on a sailboat. Fortunately we did catch a few more birds like this beautiful Fox Sparrow. A really "chunky" bird it was big even for a Fox Sparrow.
We also had our first American Tree Sparrow of the fall. It was hanging out with the flock of juncos that hit the nets early. This is one of our favorite birds during our winter banding sessions. The numbers we catch each year has declined over the years. I don't know if it is habitat loss or habitat change but we have noticed this drop in birds present for a few years now.
This ATSP was a young bird and showed a really nice molt limit on its wings. Notice the nice bright greater coverts and the contrast with the primary coverts and the median coverts. It's not always this obvious but it was nice to be able to show this characteristic to all the visitors.
In spite of the quick decline in conditions we still totaled 18 birds and 4 species. We'll keep putting nets out this month as much as we can but the weather in October is unpredictable. We may keep banding into November if things are nice and the birds are around.