First Day of Banding
Sunday started our 7th season of banding over at the CLDC – MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) banding station. We were concerned over the weather remnants of “Barry” who got close enough that we almost had to close the station down early (due to the rain/thunder). Although we were lucky given that the thunderstorm passed just to the east of us and we received only a few rain drops. Temperatures ranged from 59F to 78F and everyone commented on how humid it was. It was cloudy for most of the morning and I think it was almost 11:00am once the sun finally start to peak through.
The banding station captured 15 different species of birds and caught 40 different individuals. We were able to placed 31 new bands on birds, recaptured 9 birds from the previous year(s) and collected 23 avian bird flu samples. Besides myself, we had 2 field assistants (Young Naturalist J and Matt) who assisted with in the banding (ok, 3 but Mel didn’t show up till the last hour) and then had 4 visitors who arrived around 8am to see our banding process (only 1 who had visited the station before).
Over the past 4 years the banding station has gone through a drastic change with the help of the Viburnum Leaf Beetle. This year was the first year that I had truly noticed a difference in the arrow-wood shrubs decomposing away and the net locations seem to be more open than in years past. I had been concerned that many of our bird species would disappear once the beetles arrived but that wasn’t the case. We actually had an increase in our diversity of species due to a larger supply of food (V. Leaf Beetle) that the birds were able to gorge on. When setting up the nets this year, I was only able to locate a few Arrow-wood root sprouts and they were already being chewed up by some larva. But the supply of beetles should be down and I expected our bird numbers to go way down also. I don’t think we caught as many as we did the first year we opened but I thought we did excellent job (considering).
The Mourning Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler and Blue-winged Warblers were my highlighted birds for the day. Young Naturalist enjoyed watching the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks take some chunks out of my fingers and the Downy Woodpeckers take some whacks at my knuckles (and he didn’t get bit or whacked at all). Although everyone enjoyed banding the Indigo Buntings, House Wrens (Matt, watch those House Wrens, they are tricky little things) and Black-billed Cuckoo!!
I would like to thank my two field assistants for getting up at 4:30am in the morning to help out with the banding process. This was Matt’s first day as a Field Assistant (not visitor) and he did a wonderful job with the numerous jobs that I gave him! A big high five to Young Naturalist J for another wonderful day doing what he does best! I would also like to thank everyone who has purchased t-shirts and our hats over the past two years! This season we purchased 10 new mist-nets and 20 new poles for the banding station. New equipment really does make a difference when removing birds from the mist nets and in the long run is safer for the birds (which is our number 1 priority). THANKS!