Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Banding Last Weekend

Our two banding programs this weekend proved to be a bit of a challenge. The weather cooperated by being dry but it was warm and the ground was hard. We worked very hard to come up with a few birds on Saturday and Sunday was even harder. On the other hand we did see what may have been our first southbound migrant of the fall with the capture of the above Ovenbird, Seirurus aurocapilla. We did not have any recaptures at either banding location.

We did see some young birds including this juvenile Eastern Phoebe, Sayornis phoebe. Many of the adult birds are actively molting into their "basic" plumage. This made lots of the birds look pretty unkempt.

We had two species of flycatcher this weekend. Both Least Flycatcher, Empidonax minimus, and a "Trail's" Flycatcher. Now in banding parlance, a Trail's is what is reported when a bird that is either a Willow or an Alder Flycatcher is caught. Identification of either in the hand is not possible. We spend a lot of time measuring these guys and the overlaps in measurement ranges is too great to allow a definitive ID. I know that can be frustrating to birders but it is what it is.

It sounds like the southward migration is really starting to pick up and we should be seeing more and more migrants in the field. For a complete run down of numbers for this weekend's banding please see the results page at the North Central Bird Observatory website.

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