Saturday, March 21, 2009
Saturday Morning Banding and Saturday Night Radar
We had our first real banding session of the year that included migrants. It was good to hear all the chatter in the trees and the feeder stations were very busy. Lots of visitors at the session today and I think every youngster who showed up got to help let a bird go. Some of our catches were amazing. The Red-winged Blackbird above was a recapture. It had been banded 2 years ago and was at least 4 years old.
An even rarer catch was this American Tree Sparrow that was a recapture and is at least 6 years old. Imagine 6 years of moving between the tundra in the summer and Minnesota in the winter. You have to admire these tough little guys.
Of course we had plenty of the locals in our totals today. We can hear the nuthatches and chickadees doing their spring calls and the woodpeckers were drumming all over the place but none of our captures today were showing any breeding characteristics such as brood patch or cloacal swelling. Next month should be the time of year when we can correctly sex the monomorphic species we catch.
There are still a good number of wintering birds present. Dark eyed Juncos were our second most numerous species today (17). We even have some Common Redpolls coming into the feeders but not in the numbers like last month. In Feb. we caught 25 Redpolls and today just 2. Totals for the day were 51 birds of 7 species. For a more detailed breakdown you can go to the North Central Bird Observatory website and go to "Banding Results from Carver Park"
There are bound to be lots more birds showing up in the next couple of days if the radar from tonight is any indication. Iowa is chock full of birds tonight. Conditions are good for movement tonight but the weather will be deteriorating here in Minnesota over the next 24hrs. Those birds in Iowa may have to spend a few days there recharging.