Sunday, October 30, 2016

Another Banding Season Almost Over

      The days are getting shorter, colder and less birdy. All signs that this banding season is about to wrap up. However, as long as the days aren't freezing and as long as people are reporting birds around I'll get out when I can. Here are a couple of interesting catches lately.
     There have been a pretty big number of Brown Creepers moving through the area. Lots of people are seeing them in numbers when they're out birding. Love having these in the hand but boy are they small!
     A peek at a creeper from behind.
    A close up of the creepers tail shows how similar it is to a woodpecker tail, pointy and stiff.
    In my last banding session I caught this Bluejay. We don't catch that many Bluejays because they tend to be pretty smart (a corvid, you know) and avoid nets pretty well. I didn't really notice anything unusual until I starting taking data. As soon as I started taking the wing measurement I realized the odd primary covet on the right side. Taking a closer look it seems this bird had odd feathers on each wing.
    Here's a close-up of the single white primary covert on the right wing.
    I checked to see if the oddity was symmetrical and discovered the left wing had 2 white feathers. I love getting to see something I had not seen before while the bird is in my hand. Not a clue as to why these feathers formed as they did but I do know that this is not "partial albinism". Technically, that condition doesn't exist. At most you might call this a partially leucistic bird but even that seems to be a stretch when only 3 feathers are affected. My best hope is that I can get this same bird next year to see if these feathers stay white through the next molt.

      Just one more reason to keep getting out into the field.

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