If you are new to banding, read the About Bird Banding page. We have been banding Painted Buntings for five winter seasons (2013-2018) and banded at Possum Long in Stuart, FL since 2012. But life has changed for us. As of July, 2018 we are now based in Richland, WA and new projects are on the way. We are leaving old posts and pages in place as that information is still relevant and exciting. Let's see what we learn in this new chapter of banding.
Possum Long held some excitement for us today but not in the form of a bird we could band. We did band 1 new Gray Catbird and recaptured a Painted Bunting and another Gray Catbird so you could say it was slow.
The excitement made up for that!
One of the first net runs there was something BIG in the net. As usual I started to curse the squirrels. Last time I did that the "squirrel" was a Chuck-will's-widow! This time it was..............
....... a Cooper's Hawk. I can reassure you that though the photo is dramatic and may be upsetting, the bird was extracted fairly easily and it flew off just fine (see video to follow). We used a cloth bag to cover the bird's head while we untangled its claws. This kept the bird calm and kept us uninjured. The permit we operate under does not allow for the banding of raptors (hawks, eagles, and falcons). So we released it unbanded. Pete took another slo-mo video.
This Cooper's Hawk is a young bird. It will eventually develop a reddish color on the chest. Typically this kind of hawk hunts birds but this one dropped a rodent near the net.
release of Cooper's Hawk
video by Pete Grannis
So, thus ends banding at Possum Long for 2017. We will recommence at a later date. Watch this blog for updates. Painted Bunting banding sessions will continue to be posted here.
Our regular Possum Long Banding session was mostly a recapture day with only 2 new birds. We recaptured a Gray Catbird from November 11, 2014. It was still in great shape after having made a few trips since it was originally banded. Pete took a slo-mo movie which I am attempting to add.
releasing a Gray Catbird
Video by Pete Grannis
We also recaptured and banded Painted Buntings. Our recapture data is looking very good and adding one more at Possum Long has given us 17 there this season.
The other new bird banded was a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - so tiny. It weighed only 6 grams which is just a tad more than a nickel weighs. (Painted Buntings average 15 grams)
Sincere thanks go out to Nancy Price and Pat Marshall who hung all of our nets that were not in use and inspected them for holes. Nets age or get snagged in plants and other things. Sometimes for a bird's safety we need to cut a strand or two. Net repair can be tedious but having these marked will make the job much easier. I appreciate their hard work.
Quite a few years ago, PB 27 hosted Dr. Rotenburg (NC summer Painted Buntings Project leader - PBOT) when he was in Florida to see a NC bird she had at her feeders. Then we began our winter study. Now she has hosted us quite a few times. This site has a long Painted Bunitng history. Saturday we returned to PB 27. We banded 16 birds - 15 were green (10 born this past summer, 5 female) and 1 male. We noted a few more males and recaptured one but there is an abundance of greens at PB 27 right now.
Painted Buntings at PB 27 (new green and recaptured male)
Photos by Bill LaFrambosie
The recaptured male bird had a very faded red band. We replaced it with a new one but you can see how brown the faded one looks.
Sunday we returned to PB 46. We banded 7 new Painted Buntings and all of them were birds born this past summer. We did see male birds though. We also caught a new Blue Jay. It was also born this past summer.
Our last Possum Long session for 2017 will be Tuesday, December 5. Nets go up at 6:30. We will announce our return to Possum Long after the holidays. Until the, keep a watch here for more Painted Buntings Season 5 reports.