Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Typical Spring Banding Session

The second session of bird banding at Ritter Farm Park near Lakeville, Minnesota was a classic spring session. The worry was for the day to be cold and rainy but we got lucky and the rain that threatened passed through the area overnight and by the time we set our nets, the area was beginning to dry out nicely.
The trees were just alive with migrants that appeared to have just arrived that morning. While banding we would run over and check out the nearby oaks and tick off a couple of new species. Then we'd run the nets and pull 5 - 6 more birds to band and so on and so on.
Some of the birds we caught do breed in the park but I have a feeling that this wave contained a lot of birds that would continue north. We also saw lots of FOY (first of year) birds, mostly warblers. The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (above) just showed up in the last week.
Many of our catches only show up for a couple of weeks in spring and fall. The Nashville Warblers are here with Tennessee Warblers and we still have numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers around but we also saw Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided and Cape May Warblers. Wish we would have netted some of them!
Interestingly and for the first time in our memory, the most common bird we banded that morning was the Northern Waterthrush. We had 6 for the day and they seemed to be everywhere. Sometimes the best catch of the day is a single individual and that was the case today. We only netted one Swamp Sparrow but it was banded and it was our band. Checking our records we found that we had banded this bird in just about the exact same spot back in 2007. It was an ASY bird then which makes the bird at least 7 years old. This is very close to the age of the oldest Swamp Sparrow documented in the Bird Banding Labs longevity records. We catch it next year and we're in the record book!

We're up north this weekend trying to see if we can add big numbers for the spring at West Twin Lake. Sounds like the weather should cooperate. I'll post results when I get back. Until then, get out in the woods.

1 comment:

Julia said...

that yellow warbler is beautiful! when I move back to MN I would love to participate in banding and I know my son would be over the moon as well!