Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 19, 20, and 21, 2017

March 19 was a super busy day as we visited two locations.  We returned to PB 64 in the morning and PB 13 in the afternoon.  Many thanks to Pat Marshall who worked at both sessions and the next day too!

At PB 64 we banded 9 new Painted Buntings as well as incidental captures of a Mourning Dove, a Palm Warbler, FIVE Northern Cardinals. and a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  Best news of all was recapturing all six of the birds we banded the previous year.  Some locations do get 100% returns!

Palm Warbler

Northern Cardinal - male

Painted Bunting - male

At PB 13 we were pretty hampered by the rising wind and a few grackles.  Despite that we banded 7 new buntings and recaptured one.  Incidental captures included another Northern Cardinal and 3 of the Common Grackles.  It is interesting to me that even though these 2 locations are fairly close, they do not seem to share birds.

Monday found us at PB 37.  We had last visited in Season Two and had banded 22 buntings then. This visit we banded 13 new buntings and recaptured 2.  The only incidental capture was a Blue Jay. Our host is an great photographer and she allowed us to share the release she caught!  We have two other great photos by her which will appear in presentations or maybe in a later blog.

Releasing the Painted Bunting after banding

Very colorful male Painted Bunting underside

Blue Jay holding his bands hostage

Our regular Possum Long session on March 21 went well but migrants are yet to show up in any numbers.  We banded a new Painted Bunting, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a Blue Jay.  We also recaptured another Painted Bunting, an Ovenbird, and a Northern Cardinal.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Blue Jay - wing showing young feathers

Next regularly scheduled banding at Possum Long will be March 28.  Nets go up at 7:15.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

March 12, 14, and 15, 2017

On March 12, we banded at PB 10 where we finally caught the birds that were present!  The host reported only 1 unbanded green after we left.  Sometimes we are not that lucky.  We banded 10 Painted Buntings and recaptured the two that had been banded in December.  When people tell me that banding will scare their birds off I remember times like this.

We had 6 incidental bandings:  2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers, 2 Common Ground-Doves, 1 Great Crested Flycatcher, and a Northern Parula.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)

On March 14, we had our regular banding session at Possum Long.  We did well with 2 Painted Buntings; one a recapture and one a new bird.  Both were green so it afforded us the perfect opportunity for a side-by-side photo.  The key feathers are where I am pointing - that bird is a female because the feathers have a green edging.  The bird on the left shows grayer feathers in the same area.  It was born last summer.

Painted Buntings
Photo by Pat Marshall

(a cropped version of the above)

We also banded a Northern Parula and a Downy Woodpecker.  Birds are moving through the property with a recent report of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo!

Northern Parula
Photo by Pete Grannis

Northern Parula
Photo by Pete Grannis

Downy Woodpecker - female
Photo by Pat Marshall

We returned to DuPuis Wildlife Area (PB 6) several times but caught the most birds on March 15. We banded 8 Painted Buntings and recaptured quite a few.  At least one male was from Season 1!!  We also banded a new Chipping Sparrow and a recaptured one from 2 years ago.  The Clay-colored Sparrow was also still present.

Many birds are using the caged feeder.  The Painted and Indigo Buntings LOVE it.  There are also Chipping Sparrows that use it and the Clay-colored was in it for a few minutes.  Also a Gray Catbird managed to squeeze in.  I don't think they eat seed very often.  

Caged feeder (plans in Encouraging Painted Buntings page on this blog)
You can see a male and a green I hope.

Next scheduled Possum Long banding:  Tuesday, March 21.  Nets go up at 7:30 am.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March 6 and 7, 2017

Monday we returned to DuPuis (PB 6) for another attempt to band some of the unbanded birds we saw on March 1.  This visit we only managed recaptures but the great news and data are that some of those birds were from Seasons 1 and 2.  The birds were doing fine and on a few we had to replace color bands that had fallen off or were faded.

We also caught a few incidental Chipping Sparrows.  The excitement was that among the Chipping Sparrows, Pete and Jean noticed one that looked different.  Different it was - it was a Clay-colored Sparrow (photo below).  What great spotting that led to a life looks for some and a few new state and/or county species seen.

Painted Bunting - male

Painted Bunting female (know because as a recapture we know it is over 4 years old!)

Chipping Sparrow

We also recaptured 2 Chipping Sparrows from 2 years ago, banded on the same dates!

Clay-colored Sparrow (right) with 2 Chipping Sparrows
Photo by Jean Potvin

Today, Possum Long just wasn't as exciting as yesterday.  In fact we did not capture any birds.  This is only the 7th time in 5 years that we had that happen.  Wind was a big factor as the birds can see the nets moving.  It was also raptor day with 2 nesting Red-shouldered Hawks, 2 nesting Osprey, 3 newly arrived flyover Swallow-tailed Kites, and 2 Cooper's Hawks!!  Better luck in the next week or so as sooner or later migrants will come through.

Next scheduled banding:  Tuesday, March 14.  Nets go up at 7:30 am.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 24, 26, 28, and March 1, 2017, 2017

On March 24, we went back to PB 3 as they had a few unbanded birds plus one bird that had returned but was apparently not a combination from this location.  We did band 2 more here and we did recapture the suspect bird.  It turns out that it was banded at Possum Long in April, 2016.  The young lady of the household lent us her special bunting for company!

our bunting mascot

Painted Bunting
Photo by Pete Grannis

On the 26th we went to Sebastian and revisited PB 40.  It was a very birdy day - we saw our first Swallow-tailed Kite of the season.

We banded 8 new Painted Buntings and had 17 incidental birds:  Two American Goldfinch, 7 Indigo Buntings, 3 Brown-headed Cowbirds, 3 Northern Cardinals, 1 Common Ground-Dove, and a Common Grackle.  

Painted Bunting 

Indigo Bunting
molting and wearing into blue colors for spring

American Goldfinch

On February 28 we cancelled our regularly scheduled Possum Long banding due to rain.  Bird safety comes first and wet nets are not safe for birds.  

March 1 was a great session.  We banded at DuPuis (PB 6) which is one of our few sites with public access. This is a good location for observing buntings.  We only used a trap in the caged feeder that is there. It kept us quite busy.  We banded 5 new buntings and recaptured 6 more.  We saw quite a few strange colors including one green bunting with red feathers on its face.  These were not molting in. The cheek area is typically blue on a male so it is just that they got colored red as they grew in.  We recaptured a male that had been banded in Season 1.  This means the bird is a least 6 years old.  We also had 5 incidental captures of 3 Chipping Sparrows and 2 Indigo Buntings.  

Painted Bunting with strange red face feathers

Indigo Bunting 
molting and wearing into its blue colors for spring

Painted Bunting
older female with rosy breast

Next scheduled banding at Possum Long will be on Tuesday, March 6.  Nets go up at 6:30.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

February 15, 19, 20, and 21, 2017

Wow!  It has been a busy week.  We went to 2 past Painted Bunting sites and a new one.  We did an impromptu session at Possum Long in addition to this week's regularly scheduled Possum Long banding.

On February 15, we actually went to 2 Painted Bunting sites that are on the same street.  We caught 2 at one location and recaptured 1 at the other.  High winds were a problem so we are glad we caught what we did.  We also banded a Northern Cardinal with a broken beak.  Other than the beak problem, the bird appeared to be fine and healthy.  It is managing!  We also had two House Sparrows.

Painted Bunting - male

Northern Cardinal with broken beak

On February 19, we banded at Possum Long and made up a little for the recent low number of buntings banded. We banded 3 Painted Buntings and a Downy Woodpecker.  We also recaptured an Ovenbird and a Northern Cardinal.

Painted Bunting

Downy Woodpecker

One fun non-bird observation was our resident Gopher Tortoise chomping on the grass in one of our lanes where we put up our net!  Always fun to see a Gopher Tortoise!

Gopher Tortoise

On February 20, we went to a new site where 5 buntings had been reported.  This site is close to another one and we are hoping to see if there are any visitations back and forth.  We banded 3 greens (a female and 2 young birds) and almost caught the one reported male.  Now the hosts at this site can observe their feeder to see if they may actually have more unbanded birds or if they see banded birds from the nearby site.  We will likely return here.

Our regularly occurring session at Possum Long brought us visitors.  We had a home school group visit to learn about bird banding.   We were able to show them some of the birds we caught today.  We banded a new Northern Parula and Gray Catbird.

Northern Parula
Photo by Linda Wishney

We also had a few recaptures.  One was a Yellow-rumped Warbler that was originally banded on December 1, 2015.  At that time we determined it was an adult male.  That means the bird is at least 3 years old and possibly older.  The other recaptured birds were recently banded but had remained on the property.  

Next regularly scheduled banding at Possum Long will be on Tuesday, February 28.  Nets go up at 6:45.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February 14, 2017

We had a pretty terrific opening day considering that migration, if it is underway, is just starting.  The day started out with the best bird of the day (see later) and a Northern Cardinal recapture.  All together we banded 9 new birds and 4 of those were all at once.  We also recaptured another Northern Cardinal. There were three types of warblers banded: Yellow-rumped, Palm, and Northern Parula.  In addition there were 2 Black-and-white Warblers seen.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Photo by Roy Netherton

Northern Parula
Photo by Pete Grannis

Fun to see the green back up close.

Northern Parula
Photo by Pete Grannis

Northern Parula
Photo by Pete Grannis

We also banded a few of the larger birds:  1 Blue Jay, 1 Northern Cardinal, and 2 Gray Catbirds.

Our highlight was a Hermit Thrush.  This is only the second Hermit Thrush we have banded on the property.  The first one was one of our first birds in October, 2012.  Always fun to study a "new" bird.

Hermit Thrush
Photo by Roy Netherton

Though this bird might appear a little reddish like a Veery, the spots are darker and more distinct.

Hermit Thrush
Photo by Roy Netherton
The tail is much redder than the back.

Hermit Thrush
Photo by Roy Netherton

A beautiful portrait shot.  Note the bristles near the bill.  When anything touches these, the mouth opens.  A very keen sense of touch.

Hermit Thrush
Photo by Roy Netherton

We were pretty amazed to see the mouth lining, so orange.

The next regularly scheduled Possum Long session will be on Tuesday, February 21.  Nets go up at 6:45 am.

Monday, February 13, 2017

February 11 & 12, 2017

This weekend we made return visits to two sites.  We are not getting many new invites so it is wonderful to have former hosts report they have many unbanded birds.

At PB 46 we banded 23 new birds and added to our return data with 11 recaptures.  At this site we have exceeded 100 birds banded.  The hosts are  incredibly wonderful to us and do an excellent job of tracking their birds.  Number 100 got a special combination with 2 of the black/white split bands.

Painted Bunting

We also banded a Mourning Dove, a Northern Cardinal, a Chipping Sparrow and a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Chipping Sparrow

At PB 49 we banded 14 new Painted Buntings, doubling the total there.  Last year we knew there were more birds but we were unable to catch them.  Though many of the birds were born last summer here's one that is older.  As we have mentioned many times before, this can only be told in-hand. Note the green edges to the feathers above the thumb.  These are hidden on a folded wing.

Painted Bunting (female as can only be told in hand) (ASY)
note the green edges to the feathers above the thumb

We recaptured three from last season and banded a Northern Cardinal who thinks he owns the yard!

Northern Cardinal

Next Possum Long banding:  Tuesday, February 14.  Nets go up at 7 am.