Sunday, January 18, 2009
More from Saturday Banding
Mid-winter banding is often not the time when we catch the most unusual or exciting birds but we sometimes find interesting things even when we catch the most common birds. Yesterday we caught 30 birds with 19 of them being Black-capped Chickadees. At this time of year we can only say that these chickadees are after hatch year and sex unknown which makes processing them pretty straightforward. Even so, it is important to look at each bird as if it is unique. By checking both wings of the chickadee pictured above we noticed that one wing had the secondary and tertiary flight feathers on its left wing molting in. This is not the time we would expect to see this so we think it may be replacing feathers it lost in an attack by a predator or it may have lost feathers when they became frozen to something.
One of the species that we are seeing more and more often is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. This is a species that is expanding its range northward and is now common in at least the southern half of Minnesota.
The other woodpecker species we observed yesterday included this Downy Woodpecker female at one of the suet feeders. Mark Newstrom, the master bander at this station, has done lots of research on the molt patterns of Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. Any time we catch one of these he gets to have final say as to age of the bird. Their molt patterns are fairly complex.
This fellow got his picture on the blog just because he looks so angry. Of course, if I had just gone through what this guy went through, I'd be upset too.