So many photos of our amazing banding day at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory . . . . I just had to split the pictures into 3 different post!! The first post is about warblers. I figured that I would look up “Warbler” in Wikipedia and they state “They are mostly brownish or dull greenish in color, of small size, easier seen than heard, and harder to determine to species. To Old World birders, “warblers” are the the archetypal “LBJ” (“little brown job”).” Must have been a non birder who wrote that . . . . warblers are easy to identify when looking at all their fieldmarks!!!
Before banding we always have a habit of guessing what bird species might be caught! You can probably expect the expected guesses like “Yellow-breasted Chat” or “Black-and-white Warbler” . . . . then we give those reasonable guesses!! The Blackpoll, Bay-breasted Warbler and Pine Warbler were some of those reasonable guesses that we discussed. Then we would talk about some of their field marks that we would need to look at for identification. Of course we hadn’t been at the banding station for a half hour before one of those confusing “LBJ’s” showed up. Hmm, this little birdy is yellowish/brown, has wingbars . . . . and look yellow feet . . . . must be a Blackpoll Warbler!! (Lifer for Young Naturalist J)!!
Other great warblers being banded included the Yellow-rumped Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. They are common to us but still fun to see again (and could be our last time seeing them this year). I was very amazed at the number of Magnolia Warblers that they caught.
We would always volunteer to release the birds after the banders were done processing them. This would give us an opportunity to look for molt limits and to age the birds. Sometimes we never knew what birds were being banded and they would bring us surprises like our “American Redstart”!! I must admit that for as many Redstarts that I have banded . . . . this was a very stunning bird!
We also took any opportunity to walk around with the BBBO Volunteers to check their 70ish nets that were placed around the station. What is fun about extracting the birds from the mist-nets is that you never know what you are going to find! Young Naturalist J looks up at the net and says “Black-and-white Warbler”! Goof not only got another lifer but also had the opportunity to take it out of the net!!
Then you get to the point where you begin to wonder what other amazing bird could be caught!! We had done a net check and what did we find . . . . an adult male Black-throated Blue Warbler! Oooo this was such an amazing bird and we were (ok, I was) very disappointed that they release it before I could get a picture of it. But, the crew did do good after they caught a female BTBW and we (ok I) didn’t allow them to release it before capturing her picture.
I can admit that these little birds can be confusing but LBJ’s will always be considered Sparrows to me (not warblers)! On a side note, those that noticed the funny feather thing being seen around the warblers head . . . . the banders wet their head so that they can look at the birds skull through the skin. This allows those banders to help with aging the bird where they look to see if the skull has not fully developed yet (then it’s a hatch year bird).