Friday, October 25, 2013

Hope Springs Eternal

Purple Finch
    Well the change in weather here in Minnesota has been nothing short of dramatic. We have gone from warm, dry days to cold, wet, windy days but the birds are still showing up. Luckily our banding sessions have fallen into weather windows when we wouldn't be completely miserable.
    Last Friday I headed to a friend's house in Wisconsin and had a busy morning. I banded 35 birds including Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker and White-throated Sparrow.
     I also had 2 retraps. 1 four year old chickadee and a five year old Hairy Woodpecker!
     The following day was our regular banding session at Carver Park and in spite of the threatening bad weather we had a great day. Twenty two individuals of ten species. The big surprises were the Purple Finch shown above and a couple of Eastern Bluebirds. This young male is interesting in that it shows some feathers having already been replaced but if you look at the wing photo below you can see some feathers that have been retained.
    If you look at the greater coverts on the wing (the feathers covering the base of the secondary and tertial wing feathers) you can see the contrast in color between the outer 2 feathers and the rest of the coverts toward the body. We got most of our birds by setting nets near shrubs that still have ripe berries but those are becoming fewer each day.

    Below is a list of all the species we handled that day:
American Tree Sparrow
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-capped Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco
Purple Finch
House Finch
White-throated Sparrow
Eastern Bluebird
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin

    We are trying to continue banding for as long as is reasonable. It looks like this weekend Sunday might give us a chance to get out but it is hard to know what might still be around. We remind each other that zero is still a valid data point but not as much fun as a flock of sparrows.
    Check back next week to see if I was able to get out. Otherwise keep looking up!

No comments: