Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lightning Strikes Twice

After many years (more than I'll admit to) of banding, the unusual has happened twice in the last 16 months. With all the birds we put bands on, when we catch a banded bird we are pretty confident that it is one of ours, especially if it is a non-migratory species like chickadees or nuthatches or such. In May of 2007 while banding at Carver Park near Victoria, MN we caught an American Goldfinch that was banded and it was not ours. Then in Sept. of 2008 while we were banding in Wisconsin we caught another banded American Goldfinch that was not ours. Well when the reports came back to us after reporting the captures it turns out both birds had been originally banded in Illinois! The goldfinch captured on May 19,2007 had been banded near Makanda, Il on March 8, 2007. Quite a geographic jump for a goldfinch. The goldfinch caught near Menomonee, WI on Sept. 7,2008 was banded in Franklin County, Illinois (near Springfield) on Feb. 9, 2004. Again a pretty interesting movement for a goldfinch. This kinda begs the question, "Is there a regular movement of goldfinches from Illinois to MN/WI?" I know 2 data points are not enough to make any judgements but I would be curious if anyone has seen any similar types of movements in their banding programs?

This is the kind of result that keeps us going out into the field, even if we do spend lots of time drinking coffee and staring at empty mist nets!

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