Sunday, October 7, 2018

Banding Ahead of a Weather Front

I spent yesterday morning, Saturday, at the "Big Sit" event sponsored by the National Park Service at Coldwater Spring in Minneapolis. It was crazy how many birds were around. The count ended with 60 species for the day but by far the most common birds were the sparrows. Having seen that, I thought this morning would be a good banding session so I got out to my site and hoped for the best.

It started out slow but did eventually pick up. In 3 hours I had 15 birds of 6 species, the majority being sparrows. The one species that was around yesterday that I didn't catch were Fox Sparrows.

The full list for today is:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet       2
Yellow-rumped Warbler     2
Field Sparrow                    1
Black-capped Chickadee   1
Lincoln's Sparrow              3
White throated Sparrow    6

 I saw lots of Ruby-crowned Kinglets yesterday and sure enough they showed up in the nets today. One of the smallest birds I handle regularly. Weighed just under 6 grams.
 The male sports a bright red crest which you don't see very often. Parting the feathers reveals the crest feathers.
 I put this photo in to show the contrast between the outer rectrices (tail feathers) and the inner rectrices. Note the outer feathers are dull and worn. They will be much nicer in the spring.
 I didn't expect to catch a Field Sparrow today but this one was hanging out with a flock of White-throated Sparrows and followed them into the net.
 One of my favorite sparrows is the Linclon's Sparrow. A beautiful smaller sparrow with a buffy chest that is finely striped. They are in the area in big numbers right now.
This chickadee was very unusual in that one wing had feathers that are deformed. This was not caused by the net and the other wing is perfectly normal. For some reason the feather grew this way. The shaft is not broken but rather is curved. The feathers could not be straightened. The bird could fly but appeared to labor a bit. Has anyone seen something like this?

The next 3 days are supposed to be very wet so I think the migrants will be stuck here for a few days. I'll see how next weekend looks for banding. There aren't many days in the field left for this year. Reports from north of here indicate the last of the migrants are leaving and the winter visitors are showing up. If the "Finch Forecast" is correct it will be a fun winter for birding.

Keep looking up!

No comments: