Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 26, 2013

Today was a humming good day.  We banded two Gray Catbirds and released a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird from our nets.  We cannot band hummingbirds as that requires a special permit.  We had a quick look and let it go.  Other Ruby-throats were heard at Possum Long today.

male Ruby-throated Hummingbird
photo by Nancy Price

Apologies to Nancy Price who takes wonderful pictures when I am not moving so much.  Even though this one is out of focus I included it as you can see the red gorget (iridescent throat patch).  

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
photo by Nancy Price

One of the flowers where the Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeds:  Powder Puff

Today was warm and muggy.  The birds were very quiet.  We spent some time with photographer Alex Boerner of the Stuart News who is going to feature our new banding station and ways of volunteering .  http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/feb/28/volunteers-band-birds-at-possum-long-nature-in/

pretty flower noted today

Mottled Duck

Proof that the birds were present in low numbers today was our day list of 22 species and adding only Great Blue Heron to the species list for 2013.  There were both Mottled and Wood Ducks on the pond again.  We saw them perched in a pine near the house.  Maybe they are considering using the nest box???  There were no Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and only 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler.  But there was a Northern Parula singing - is this the slump before more spring arrivals?  Time will tell.

Next banding:  March 12, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 19, 2013

No banding due to dental emergency.  Next scheduled banding, February 26, 2013.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 12, 2013

And so it continues.....

Today I think we caught a representation of over-wintering birds.  There are always warblers to hope for but they are frequently above the nets.  We saw a new-for-the-year warbler today, a Northern Parula.  I am looking forward to maybe catching one.  We also added Red-shouldered Hawk to the 2013 year list.

Five species banded today and there was an assortment of ages to decipher.  Some birds are beginning to molt, especially one of the Gray Catbirds. We recaptured two banded Northern Cardinals and 1 banded Gray Catbird today so we are beginning to see some individuals staying on the property.  We caught the cardinal with the strange legs again today too.

The most interesting bird was a second-year male Northern Cardinal, he just wasn't as deep red in some places as we expected of an adult male.  If you can see the tiny arrow, this feather is a retained young feather indicating he was born last nesting season.  (Birthday January 1 - so now a second-year bird).

Northern Cardinal

You can also see some brown body feathers at this small arrow.

Northern Cardinal

The Blue Jay was also a second year bird, there are no bars on the indicated feathers (getting better at making arrows!).  Pictures shown on January 22 show these bars.

Blue Jay
photo by Nancy Price

Also banded today were Gray Catbird (2), Yellow-rumped Warbler (2), and Mourning Dove (1).

The event of the day was seeing an American Redstart male.  If you recall we banded one on January 22.  The excitement was that we saw the band on today's redstart.  So, we now know that at least after New Year's, several species are calling Possum Long their winter home for at least part of the day.

Next banding is February 19.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 5, 2013 - 13th post and 13 banded today

I hope there are more days that I can report like this or even better.  Today was the all-time best session so far.  Yes, the Bicknell's Thrush was a rush and the Chuck-will's-widow was totally unexpected but today beat it all with high numbers, new species, and great helpers.  So much new information to process and add to what we already know.

Today we banded 13 birds with new bands, we had another recapture and we got more information on the deformed Northern Cardinal.

Today we hung the new nets and caught birds right away.  As much as I give credit to having more nets, there was also a marked increase in bird activity.  We got to practice with a Gray Catbird and this bird showed some tail molt.  (Pictures with no photo credit are from my camera though sometimes one of the other volunteers may do the actual picture taking.)

Gray Catbird

The white covering on the feather is a sheath that covers a newly forming feather.  This Gray Catbird somehow lost a few tail feathers and is growing some new ones in.  Later in the season we will see tail molt again but it will be symmetric not just a random flight feather growing in.

It is hard to remember the order in which we got the birds.  One of the next birds we banded was a White-eyed Vireo.  Nancy Price had seen one previously but here was one in our hands.

White-eyed Vireo

Notice the small hook on the bill.  The white eyes are a bit eerie.

We also recaptured the male Northern Cardinal with the deformed legs (see 11/8 and 11/15).  Previously I had updated that a veterinarian told me she suspected bird mites.  Our new volunteer, Ryan Welsh knew how to look for them and behold, they were there.  When we held the wing up to the light we could see the tiny black dots moving.  Another Northern Cardinal we caught later did not have them.

Northern Cardinal
photo by Nancy Price

We also caught our first Northern Mockingbird.  It is nice to have bigger birds to work on.  Good practice for more smaller birds later in the day.  Both the Northern Mockingbird and its close relative the Gray Catbird are quite vocal as we work on them.

Northern Mockingbird

Somewhere along the way we caught more cardinals.  One male was a biter and was hard to bag as he was  hanging on to the bag for dear life.  I will admit, this one escaped unbanded.

Northern Cardinal

Nancy Price called with the news that we caught another Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  By the time we got to the net, there were two more birds - another White-eyed Vireo and a Prairie Warbler.  

Prairie Warbler

How fun to band such a little, feisty bird that is so bright and colorful.

Make sure you check out the page with a list of the birds we have seen on or from the property in 2013.  We added 7 to that list today.

What a good day.  13 newly banded birds, 1 recaptured Gray Catbird , 2 unbanded Northern Cardinals.  (1 Prairie Warbler, 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, 2 White-eyed Vireos, 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 3 Gray Catbirds, 3 Northern Cardinals, and 1 Northern Mockingbird.)

Many thanks to my hard working volunteers!!

Next banding February 12, 2013