We had great hopes for the banding program on Saturday morning but apparently the birds had a different idea. We did hit double digits for individuals caught but had about 5 times that number of visitors so we talked a lot about just a few birds.
The final bird of the day was this second year House Finch. I can remember the first HOFI we caught years ago and we were very excited to see House Finches just getting to Minnesota from the east. Now they are pretty ubiquitous. Surprisingly we don't catch that many in our banding areas. We only catch them in sets near the nature center building.
One of the up close details we got to look at was the emargination on some of the primary feathers. Primaries are numbered from from nearest the body outward so the farthest wing feather out in House Finches is number 9. In the photo above you can see primaries number 8, 7, and 6 are emarginated on the leading edge. In other words, the feather shows an uneven leading edge. I don't know that this is important in identifying House Finches but in some species the shape of some of the primaries can actually be diagnostic for identification. In this case I think it just looks cool.
Totals for the day were 10 birds of 4 species, Black-capped Chickadee (6), Dark-eyed Junco (1), White-breasted Nuthatch (2), and House Finch (1).
I'm looking forward to things picking up!