Thursday, July 24, 2008
This past couple of weeks marks the beginning of the southward migration of birds through Minnesota. Shorebirds are starting to show up in goods numbers in Minnesota and Wisconsin and there are even reports of some early warbler movement.
Banding on the other hand is focused on local breeders and young of the year. We banded out at Carver Park near Victoria, MN both Saturday (a public program) and on Sunday (just us in a different location). Results were pretty typical for this time of year but we did get to handle some nice birds. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicanus, above was more cooperative than usual and didn't draw blood from anyone. He has a little feather stuck to his bill but no one was going to reach to remove it (the wisdom of experience).
This female Yellow Warbler, Dendroica petechia, was a nice catch. Some of the birds were still in breeding condition with either brood patches or cloacal protuberences (swollen cloaca seen in males).
Because we were banding near some open fields, Clay-colored Sparrows, Spizella pallida, were numerous. Lots of territorial singing still going on. This is a species whose beauty can't be fully appreciated until it is in the hand. The coloring of sparrows can be just gorgeous.
Finally, we caught his Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum, while several others flew from tree to tree in the area. Personally I have seen and heard more Cedar Waxwings this year than I can remember ever seeing before. I don't know if this is due to an increase in population, more birds hanging out in this area or just more effort on my part in the field. Whatever the reason, I never get tired of seeing these little beauties.
If you'd like to see the totals for our banding weekend, you can go to the North Central Bird Observatory web page and check Banding at Carver Park.
More on young birds tomorrow.