Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fall Migration Banding Begins With a Whimper

Today was the first day of "official" fall banding at my school site which basically means I am coming to grips with having to go back to work on Monday and thought I'd fill this last weekend with some banding. My friend Amber came out to help but I don't think the birds got the memo because we got skunked! It could have been the cool morning or the winds that kept getting stronger as the morning went on or it may just be that nothing is really moving through this neck of the woods yet.

So the pictures included with this entry are actually from the first fall banding session at Ritter Farm. That was a good banding day. Lots of birds and some good species. This young female Eastern Towhee, Pipilo erythophthalmus, was one of the highlights of the day. We knew it was special as soon as we walked up to the net.

We also had a really nice recapture of a Yellow-throated Vireo, Vireo flavifrons, that had been banded in May of 2007 at Ritter. Nice to see it again. Note the molting wing feathers.

As always happens in the fall, much of what we have to look at has to do with molt limits and general shape and condition of feathers. Young birds, adults molting into their basic (winter) plumage and just generally confusing birds make fall a much tougher season in my opinion than spring banding. On the other hand, it is when a bander learns the most about the life histories of many of the species they handle.

As I tell my students, even zero can be a good data point so I'll be back at it tomorrow and maybe have a little more luck!

1 comment:

cindyzlogic said...

Sorry about the disappointments :( Thanks for showing the pics of the Vireo and Towhee!