Friday, August 28, 2009

Fall 2009: Week #2 in review

This week was largely a washout. Even during dry periods, the generally damp weather has really encouraged the mosquitoes, which are worse this year than I can ever remember them being. Yuck!

The first boreal-nesting migrant was banded this week, a young female Canada Warbler on 25 August. A couple more Baltimore Orioles were in the nets, thus breaking our previous fall record of 14 banded; we now stand at 16. I've banded five Yellow-shafted Flickers so far, which is above-average. They are fairly heavy and so do not "stick" in the nets very well. But they seem to love digging around in the new wood chips, so I expect we may set a record for this species this year as well.

Young (hatching-year) female Canada Warblers can be pretty dull.

Most notable bird banded this week, in my opinion, was an adult Red-eyed Vireo netted on 25 August. It was a recapture, and had originally been banded, also as an adult, in August 2003. This means this bird is at least 7 years old. We've had returns of other Red-eyed Vireos before, but prior to this bird the longest period between recaptures was less than 5 years. You can take a look at RRBO's age records on this page. It lists a variety of species with at least two years between captures. According to the Bird Banding Lab's longevity records, the oldest Red-eyed Vireo is estimated at 10 years, 2 months old.

What makes this particularly remarkable is that Red-eyed Vireos winter in South America, making the minimum distance traveled between Dearborn and the northern coast of Colombia about 2200 miles one-way.

Range map for Red-eyed Vireo, from Cornell's All About Birds, a recommended resource.

This bird, then, has flown at least 36,000 miles on migratory flights!

Looks like the weather will be much improved next week. With reports of migrants in the region already trickling in, things should start to get interesting soon.

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