June 26, 2017

Sixth and Final Week of Spring Banding 2017

Female Cape May Warbler. 

The final week of spring banding 2017 coincided with Memorial Day weekend again this year. We were quite pleasantly surprised with the turnout that we saw at the banding station both in terms of the number of birds banded as well as  the number of visitors that stopped by. After what was undeniably a different spring migration than what we are used to here in Erie County, Memorial Day weekend we finally had sunny skies and birds singing nonstop. We were catching later season migrants such as Wilson's Warblers and Empidonax flycatchers alongside species that we would have normally expected to have passed through the park already. It was quite exciting! We also had over 100 visitors stop by the banding station over the holiday weekend, many of whom had never before heard of bird banding and were quite interested in learning about our work. A large part of what we do is public education as it is so very important to get people talking about the issues that face our avian friends as well as the environment in general. After all, we all share the same basic resources such as air and water and so, what is good for one of us is good for all of us. 

BIC, Laura-Marie Koitsch, banding a Black-throated Green Warbler.

One of the many highlights of the week was definitely catching not one, but two, Cedar Waxwings. Back when we still did banding in the fall, we banded this species quite often but since we switched over to spring banding only, we haven't handled one of these in several years so, it was a treat.

Long-term volunteer, Frank Frisina, proudly showing off a male Cedar Waxwing
Another highlight of the week was catching a subspecies of Wilson's Warbler that is pretty rare for this area. Wilsonia pusilla chryseola are slightly larger than the subspecies that we see here, plus they are very noticeably bright yellow overall and their forehead is also bright yellow with an orange tinge. 

Now compare it to the subspecies that we do see here (Wilsonia pusilla pusilla). Notice the bird pictured below is slightly smaller with an overall olive tinge.

Remember that even though the breeding range of the chryseola subspecies is southwest British Columbia to Southwest California, we caught this bird on migration and birds can take various routes to and from their breeding grounds, some even cross the entire continental US in one-go.

Another highlight was the two fledgling Song Sparrows that we banded on the last day this season. Both parents had been banded in previous years and after we banded the young birds, we took the back to where their parents were waiting for them as they were still being cared for by them.

Sixth Week Totals by Species:

American Redstart: 21
Magnolia Warbler: 60
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: 3
Black-throated Green Warbler: 8
Black-and-White Warbler: 2
Chestnut-sided Warbeler: 8
Nashville Warbler: 1
Northern Parula: 3
Wilson's Warbler: 11
Ruby-crowned Kinglet: 1
Yellow-belled Flycatcher: 5
Traill's Flycatcher: 9
Least Flycatcher: 2
Tennessee Warbler: 4
Eastern Wood-pewee: 3
Yellow Warbler: 18
Canada Warbler: 12
Common Yellowthroat: 12
Black-capped Chickadee: 2
Blackpoll Warbler: 22
Black-throated Blue Warbler: 1
Blackburnian Warbler: 9
Bay-breasted Warbler: 2
House Wren: 1
American Goldfinch: 5
Philadelphia Vireo: 3
Red-eyed Vireo: 21
Mourning Warbler: 4
Northern Waterthrush: 2
Ovenbird: 1
Indigo Bunting: 6
American Tree Sparrow: 1
Lincoln's Sparrow: 2
Song Sparrow: 8
(Eastern) White-crowned Sparrow: 1
White-breasted Nuthatch: 1
Tufted Titmouse: 1
Downy Woodpecker: 1
Swainson's Thrush: 7
Gray-cheeked Thrush: 2
Cedar Waxwing: 2
Great-crested Flycatcher: 5
Wood Thrush: 2
Gray Catbird: 26
Northern Cardinal: 1
Baltimore Oriole: 1
Brown Thrasher: 2
Eastern Towhee: 1
Red-winged Blackbird: 4
Yellow-shafted Flicker: 1
Eastern Whip-poor-will: 1
American Robin: 3

The last bird that we banded this spring was this handsome second year male Indigo Bunting. 

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