Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hatching year birds on the menu...

Today’s specials are:
Juvenile Northern Cardinal with flamingo colored primaries served with two bills: Hatching and After-hatching year Yellow Warbler. Are you hungry?

Interesting coloration on this molting juvenile male Northern Cardinal with some its primaries came in pink Its tertial feather came in dark red but the others are pink. I am wondering if he will get more girlfriends with this coloration or not so many. These primary feathers will be with him until after the next breeding season unless he loses some during the year. Those feathers still may grow in pink if that color is in his genes and feather tract.

Now for the bills…. Last time I showed an adult Prothonoatary Warbler with the bill losing its dark gray coloration as you can see here on this adult male. We caught another one this week to prove my point that their are always exceptions to rules in nature. What is good for one species may not apply to all.

Usually or normally the beaks of nestlings are yellow, fleshy and soft. As the beak hardens, it becomes dark as it would look in an adult bird. (Adult Yellow Warbler below-note bill color)

This is one of the easiest ways for banders to tell hatching year Yellow Warblers in July and August when they have already molted into their first basic plumage. The plumage looks similar to adults but the beak shows some fleshy or pink coloration.

And a highlight for the day was this early migrant or most likely just dispersing from its breeding area. It gives us a taste of fall migration is around the corner. Are you all ready?!

Enjoy the days of Summer!

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