Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 8, 10, 11, 12, and 14, 2017

We have been going full speed ahead in hopes of getting a few migrant Painted Buntings as they pass through.  We have 6 more banding sessions to report plus an article that could prove to be interesting to our study.

On April 8 we visited a new site, PB 72.  Five Painted Buntings had been reported and we caught five only to see at least one more unbanded.  With a few changes this site will be a place to return to next fall.  Incidental captures included 2 Brown-headed Cowbirds, 2 Northern Cardinals, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, a Pine Warbler, a Blue Jay, 2 Red-winged Blackbirds, 3 Common Grackles, and a Mourning Dove.

Pine Warbler
Photo by Bill LaFramboise

This Painted Bunting was quite red and we had been told that this indicates an older female. However this one was just born last summer as told by covert feathers.  So, definitely unknown sex on this green one!  Painted Bunting colors are not reliable for aging and sexing until males show their full colors.

young Painted Bunting
Photo by Bill LaFramboise

On April 10 we made a quick trip back to DuPuis where we banded 2 more new Painted Buntings, had several recaptures , and banded 2 more Indigo Buntings.

On April 11, we had our regular Possum Long Banding station session.  We banded a new Gray Catbird and recaptured 3 Painted Buntings.  One was from this season but two were from older seasons and that gives us such good return data.

Gray Catbird
Photo by Bill LaFramboise

On April 12 we returned to PB 2 where the host reported a flock of buntings that had passed through her yard and may have stayed.  We banded 6 new Painted Buntings.

Bill checking for fat to assess readiness to migrate
Photo by Linda Wishney

On April 14 we returned to PB 1 where it all started!  The host reported at least 12 unbanded birds and we banded 21.  (No I did not transpose these numbers!).  We also had incidental captures of a Northern Cardinal and two Mourning Doves.  One of the doves was recently born - our first hatch-year bird of the season.

Painted Bunting with blue head feather
Any lost feather can be replaced with any color

wing of young Mourning Dove
note scalloped edging - those white tips will wear off as the bird ages
Photo by Bill LaFramboise

Our next regularly scheduled Possum Long session will be Tuesday, April 18.  Nets go up at 6:45. When winds kept migrants from landing last year, this week and the next one were the best of the season.  We can hope.  Remember that when birds fly right over us, it is good for them but makes for quiet days for us.

And the article (link below):  I was sent this link and while it is a sad reminder that illegal trapping of our beautiful birds still occurs, it may reveal one of our banded birds.  I have contacted FWC in hopes of finding out if the banded bird mentioned could be one of our Painted Buntings.  I will update on this blog.

I also received a note from a Painted Bunting location (hope to band there some day).  She reported a single color band on a bird which is  not what we or any other permitted bander does.  It appears that possibly someone caught a bird and applied a band meant for caged birds.  Whether or not this bird was caged, we will never know.  It is really important that education happen to protect our native birds and to keep them from becoming pets.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

March 31, April 2, 4, and 5, 2017

The end is in sight at least for Painted Bunting Season 4.  We finally have topped 300 banded for this season with hopes of getting a few more before they all depart.  Hopefully we will have a productive migration season before heat, humidity, and rain shut us down for Summer Break.  Possum Long banding will continue through migration.  Hints of migration are starting....

On March 31, we returned to Vero Beach to PB 28.  It was an outstanding session.  We had originally banded 23 there 2 years ago.  This session was 33 new ones plus incidental captures and recaptures of Painted Buntings from both Season 1 and Season 2.  Our incidental species were an Indigo Bunting, a Carolina Wren, a Brown Thrasher, a Palm Warbler and 2 Gray Catbirds.

Painted Bunting
Photo by Bill LaFramboise

Carolina Wren
Photo by Bill LaFramboise

Brown Thrasher
Photo by Bill LaFramboise

On April 2, we returned to PB 46.  We caught 7 new Painted Buntings.  I don't think we will ever catch them all!  115 and counting!  Besides the new buntings we had recaptures and incidental captures of a Prairie Warbler, 3 Indigo Buntings, a Common Ground-Dove, and a Blue Jay.  

Blue Jay

Prairie Warbler
Photo by Bill LaFramboise

On April 4, we had our regularly scheduled Possum Long session.  Once more it was windy and therefore quiet.  Guests were treated to a recaptured Northern Cardinal and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  We cannot band the hummer but it was fun to see as it rested on my hand before flying off.  We did band one new Painted Bunting.

Painted Bunting
female as evidenced by green edging on the primary coverts

On April 5, we banded at a new location (PB 71) that shows great promise for the future.  Right off we caught 3 Painted Buntings.  The surprise was a male American Redstart (ASY - after second year) .  I love the color of this bird.  We also banded a Blue Jay and 2 Northern Cardinals.  

As always we thank all of our hosts, some of the best folks one could meet.  Their passion for their birds and the rest of the critters is wonderful to share.  I owe so much to the folks who come week after week to lend hard work and support to these banding efforts.  I couldn't ask for a better team.

Next scheduled Possum Long banding is April 11.  Nets go up at 6:45.  Visitors (and migrants) welcome.