Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fall Migration Banding Begins

                                                               Yellow-throated Vireo
   Here in Minnesota we've been seeing southbound migrants since early July. You really have to know what is moving to see the birds but from now until October the movement will pick up over time. What we are seeing now are mostly shorebirds, some vireos, some warblers and a few non-breeders that hung out here over the summer.
    Make no mistake, not all birds are leaving. Some birds are still in the process of raising young and lots of birds are still north of us. However our friend Manuel in Mexico is already catching southbound migrants including a significant number of Orchard Orioles.

    We banded last Saturday for our regular monthly program at the Lowry Nature Center near Victoria, MN and had a very good day with lots of diversity. We believe that some of these individuals are probably migrants. A list of species banded on Saturday is below the photo of this beautiful Yellow Warbler.

Species banded with number of individuals in parentheses

Trail's Flycatcher (1)
American Goldfinch (1)
Warbling Vireo (1)
Clay-colored Sparrow (4)
Field Sparrow (1)
Yellow Warbler (2)
Black and White Warbler (1)
Yellow Throated Vireo (1)
Red-eyed Vireo (2)
Song Sparrow (2)
Northern Cardinal (1)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (1)

   A pretty good morning for us. The next banding sessions should show more migrants and more variety. Gary Dogwood berries are just ripening and are a very good food source for birds. I expect we'll target our nets for every clump of dogwood we can find. The other place we unexpectedly find birds is in field of goldenrod. Some of our best days have been in open fields as opposed to shrubs and woodlands. Just goes to show how opportunistic birds really are.

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