Sunday, February 19, 2012

Late Winter Bird Banding

     It's only the middle of February but it feels more like the middle of March and the birding feels more like late winter rather than mid-winter. We have had such a strange season with very little snow and relatively mild temperatures that it is hard to know how this will affect the spring migration season. We here in Minnesota are suffering a really significant drought which bodes well for spring flooding but we could use some precipitation soon for soil moisture to be adequate for the growing season.

     Regardless of the weather we still are holding our regular banding sessions and on Saturday we banded for 4 hours at the Lowry Nature Center in Carver Park Reserve near Victoria, Minnesota. The totals were good for the morning with 26 individuals captured.
    Only 3 species were caught even though we were using both traps and nets. The American Tree Sparrow above was not one of the species we handled. This picture was from January when we handled a good number of these guys. The species we worked with Saturday were Black-capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, and White-breasted Nuthatch.

    As an added photo of interest the White-winged Crossbill above was photographed during a trip up north to the Sax-Zim Bog area of Minnesota. This is the mecca of winter birding in Minnesota and this year I was lucky enough to go up there twice. The goal was to see as many boreal species as possible and this year was good but not great. We did not have a big owl invasion this year except for the impressive number of Snowy Owls that have showed up. Many of them moved through the state and ended up in places like Iowa and Nebraska. I did get to see a Great Gray Owl on the first excursion. The most interesting birds were the many flocks of White-winged Crossbills that seemed to be everywhere. Strangely, we didn't see any on the second trip.
    With the days getting longer and the temperatures remaining warm, I am starting to get the itch to get out in the field and do some heavy duty birding and banding. Until migration really kicks into gear I guess I'll have to spend my time mending nets and thinking of new places to explore.

1 comment:

beegirl said...

So glad to see you are posting again!
Kathy C