Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall 2009: Weeks 9 and 10 in review

Things have picked up the last two weeks, although the bulk of the birds have been American Robins. We're up to 295 banded this fall. At this pace, we may break our record of 354. Since we are working on determining what they are eating, this is the first year that I welcome them all!

I banded two interesting robins this week. One only had one leg. It looked like an old injury: the foot was gone, along with half the tarsus (the lower part of the leg). The other half of the tarsus was still attached under the skin, but apparently not by a tendon, as it moved and rotated fairly freely. It was all well-healed, and the bird was a healthy-looking adult.

The other robin had orange, rather than white, facial markings (below, with a normal robin up top for comparison). This picture doesn't quite convey just how bold and orange this bird looked. Although I can't recall ever having banded one quite like this, it's not too unusual to get robins with this orange color in place of buff or white on some of the wing coverts.

As for warblers, we are down to the usual Yellow-rumped Warblers, the occasional Nashville Warbler, and some Orange-crowned Warblers. The duller Orange-crowns, like the one below, look a lot like Tennessee Warblers. Orange-crowned Warblers have longer tails, and yellow undertail coverts.

The bird below is a little brighter. The long-tailed look is quite evident here.

For comparison, a Tennessee Warbler banded earlier in the season, a very yellow individual. Slightly different angle, but note the shorter-tailed look.

I also recaptured a Blackpoll Warbler on 22 October which I had banded 10 days earlier. It was very fat to begin with, and positively rotund upon recapture (it weighed 20.2 grams). This represents a late fall departure date for Dearborn.

Other late dates include a Common Nighthawk in west Dearborn on 20 Oct; four Chimney Swifts over campus on 21 Oct; Northern Rough-winged Swallows near the Rouge River, also on 21 Oct; and a Green Heron on campus on 22 Oct.

We have a week or so to go for fall banding before we wrap things up for the season.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Hmmm...a rotund warbler not too far from Rotunda. Makes good sense to me!!!!