If you are new to banding, read the About Bird Banding page. We have been banding Painted Buntings for three winter seasons and at Possum Long since 2012. Possum Long is a property owned by Audubon of Martin County in Stuart, FL. These two bird banding projects will discover information that may help a declining species and will help demonstrate what kinds of birds are on the Audubon property and when they occur. Read past posts and pages to catch up to current posts.
Hurrah! We open on September 26! Our late start is due to Hurricane Irma. There were many limbs down at Possum Long but a great crew helped out with the clearing. Thanks to the 20 folks who cut and dragged and raked and cleared. Remember to check the weather as hard rain will cancel a session.
Possum Long volunteers clearing debris from Hurricane Irma
Photos by Robin Potvin
Anyone attending must be very careful and be aware of things on the ground as well as overhanging obstacles.
Painted Buntings are now back in Florida but not yet in large numbers. We have had reports from Kissimmee to Fort Lauderdale so far. We have yet to attempt banding as rain and schedules have held us up. Some of the returning birds are banded. As noted earlier we had a banded bird from Jupiter show up at a Kissimmee feeder.
Painted Bunting (not this season)
Photo by Becky Cook
We had a strange report from South Carolina of a Painted Bunting with a split black/white band and 2 other color bands. However there was no federal (metal) band seen and the reported placement of the bands was not what we do. We may never know if this was one of our birds. However, it was nice to get a report and know that someone was looking in South Carolina.
Painted Bunting (not this season)
Photo by Bill Eaton
New for this Painted Bunting Season 5 will be a new split band. We have used almost all of the possible combinations for the black/white split and only have 30 or so left. We will use those and then we will begin to use a yellow/light green split. If you have Painted Buntings we might band, send an email with a phone number to email@example.com We will call and answer your questions and we will determine if your yard can host our banding.
Northern Cardinal (not recent)
Photo by Georgia Binderow
We will be starting our 7th fall banding at Possum Long on Tuesday, September 19. Nets go up at 7 am. Hope to see you then!
I am always grateful to to the people who host our banding and then keep such good track of the birds in their yards.
One host in Kissimmee has just reported a male banded bunting at his feeder that was not banded at his location. This doesn't happen very often and is great data for hopefully tracking the paths of our Painted Buntings.
Painted Bunting (young green)
Not the one at the feeder - an example
Thanks to his persistence, we know the combination and know where the bird was banded. It was a young (green) bird banded on 10/21/2015 in Jupiter. That host tells us that it remained in Jupiter until the middle of March, 2016.
One can hope that this bird either stays in Kissimmee or returns to Jupiter!
It's official - Painted Buntings are returning. Over the years, with more people looking earlier, we are finding that August is the norm for a few Painted Buntings to return. The first one to return to a host location was a male seen today at PB 46 in Jupiter. It appears to be unbanded. If it remains, we may try to band it and see if it stays at this site or moves on. It appears to be molting which may mean it will stay for a bit.
Not as much is know about these "early" birds. Last year we saw a lot of molt going on. Typically the assumption has been that birds only molted on breeding grounds but likely some move at least a short distance and find a safe place with good food while they grow in a new set of feathers.
And now another update, PB 60 reported their first return on August 4. That one was a "shabby" (molting?) male and another male on August 7. THEY ARE RETURNING!
We have not yet set a date for the Possum Long Banding Station to open but we will post it here. Keep in touch.
Well, we have had a great spring season and a wonderful banding experience since we first opened in the fall of 2012. Two projects, many more than outstanding helpers, great hosts, and many new friends. Oh, and the birds......
Since the beginning we have banded 3023 birds. We have banded 70 species. Now remember there is overlap for the two programs so here are the individual results:
Possum Long: Banded 56 species. Some of these were county records and some were one of a kind! We banded a total of 1076 birds. The most common species is Gray Catbird although recent numbers are lower than earlier years.
Painted Buntings Seasons 1-4: Surprise, our most common species is Painted Bunting with a grand total of 1261 (38 of these at Possum Long). We have banded 46 incidental species and the most common of those was Indigo Bunting. The incidental count is 686.
Spring was a joy with Blackpoll Warblers banded (seen prior years but first to be banded) and documenting and banding 4 Connecticut Warblers. They were new to the property and likely would have gone undetected without the banding. We banded more American Redstarts than most of the other years combined; 56 this spring alone.
Our Painted Bunting news is that another one of our banded birds has been seen on their breeding grounds. A bird we banded in Wellington, FL on March 20 was seen at a feeder in Statesboro, GA on May 29. It was banded as a young green bird so hopefully the person with the feeder will see it molt or we may refind it in Wellington and see if it is male or female. Many thanks to Nancy Price who saw the bands in a photograph posted on a site on Facebook!
Once again winds shifted and were coming from the east. Late migrants are practically finished and I hope they are mostly to their breeding grounds and have successful nesting. We observed a few redstarts at Possum Long on Tuesday and we banded 2 new birds. One Ovenbird and one Common Yellowthroat managed to find the nets.
Thus ends the Spring 2017 banding at Possum Long. My thanks to all readers who keep in touch. My overwhelming appreciation to the volunteers who make this research possible. We will resume banding some time in August. I will post dates on an entry here. For some reason this blog tells me I have 1 follower but I know more of you do get email reminders when I post. If you have not signed up for that, you might consider doing so.
I will soon post the results since the start of 2017 and some overall numbers. I find numbers to be quite amazing and I hope you, my readers do too.