Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fall 2009: Week #1 in review

RRBO's 18th fall banding season began on 17 August. First, I must show you the fabulous results of our big net lane chipping project. It's like banding in a park!

The weather wasn't bad this week, so I did get to band every day. A drenching downpour cut things short on Thursday, as did gusty winds today. Things started out rather slowly, with mostly resident birds being captured. Of the 18 species banded, only two do not nest on site: Veery (one banded on Aug 17) and American Redstart (one banded on Aug 18).

Two species stood out. The first was Warbling Vireo. My fall average is 6 birds a season. I've already banded 10; I have only topped 10 birds in three years, and my record is 20. We'll see how that shakes out. Among those I banded this week was this individual, which had a deformed bill. The maxilla was about 2 mm too short, and curved to the left. This type of deformity isn't terribly uncommon. When it's minor like this, it doesn't seem to handicap the bird too much. If it's severe and interferes with feeding or feather care, the bird doesn't survive long. The bird below was a hatching-year bird of average fat and weight for this species at this time of year. You can read more about my compilations of bill deformities in this previous post.

The other notable species was Baltimore Oriole. Orioles are also common here, but they are early migrants. Some autumns, I catch none at all. My fall average is less than 3 birds a season, and my record is 14. I've tied that record already, with over half of them being captured yesterday -- six were in one net!

Same as last year, I will post a running total of the fall banding season in the right sidebar.

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