Blackpoll Warblers have an incredible migration route, especially in the fall. They take off from the east coast and travel almost 7,000 km nonstop out over the Atlantic Ocean until they reach their wintering grounds in South America. Seriously, it's nothing short of amazing! We know of this migration because of modern technology: researchers placed small light-level sensors called geolocators on these birds and then were amazed to discover the journey that they make each year over open water. We're also placing new tech on these birds but, unlike geolocators which absolutely must be retrieved from the bird to get the data (ie, the bird needs to be recaptured) we are using radio transmitters called nanotags that will transmit the bird's unique signal to the nearest receivers until the battery wears out. We are tracking these signals/birds using a handheld device to discover more about their local movements and then there are Motus towers here in PA as well as ones across both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario that will also receive the transmissions as the tagged birds move north to their breeding grounds.
|Dr. Sarah Sargent placing a nanotag on a female Blackpoll Warbler at our Highmeyer Park site.|
|Making sure that the nanotag fits perfectly on a Swainson's Thrush|
Banding off of the peninsula presented us with the opportunity to see species in the hand that we don't routinely catch in the park. Even though Belted Kingfishers can be seen (and heard!) year-round at Presque Isle State Park, we very rarely catch any. So, we were pleasantly surprised to find this breeding female BEKI in the nets our first time trapping at the Glinodo Center.
Take a good look at their absolutely adorable little feets (very scientific term) and think about the strength that they must have within them to keep the bird upright on a branch.
|The BIC, Laura-Marie Koitsch, once again enjoying the fact that she finds herself matching the birds that she catches: it's like looking in a mirror!|
Plus, with scenery this beautiful, you can see why you really had to twist our arm to get us off of the peninsula!