Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June Storms create a better Oak Savanna

It has been a stormy early summer and we are managing to keep the breeding bird studies going despite Mother Nature's influence. It was a very bad storm with many people in need of a new home. With over 100 homes destroyed from this same storm, we were surprised that the woods at the Oak Opening banding site was only hit this bad. It opened up the woods to make it a better looking savanna habitat in my opinion. It made for difficult walking and it sure made for some destruction of tree nesting birds. They will have to start over.
Mark walking from net 9 to net 10 in the woods. It took 6-7 hours on a couple days for clearing net lanes and walkways. We went to check on the nets once it was okay for us to enter the area. Some big Oaks were splintered and laying every which way the wind took them.

Here is Net 10 after the storm (see the one net pole in the foreground):
After the storm, birds take no time to wait. There was a calm and quietness in the woods a day or two after the storm. However by the next banding session birds were singing all over with a greater number of Indigo Buntings and Red-headed Woodpeckers having moved in to the newly created savanna habitat.
Here is one of our catches! I have handled a few Red-headed Woodpeckers but this one was acting like a Red-bellied Woodpecker by the way it was pecking at my fingers while I took the photo.
Both sexes are the similar in appearance. This is a nice ASY bird with no molt limits on its secondaries and only one aberrant primary covert with the rest looking fresh.
Such a sharp looking bird!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June days are last for migrants and beginning for breeding birds

For June someone should do a big bird challenge to see how many migrant songbirds they can find. There are still some migratory songbirds along the lakeshore. A Blackpoll Warbler was still singing yesterday in Navarre. Today running the last day of the migration station and the first day of Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (M.A.P.S.) Navarre station we still had a few migrants present. Wilson's Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Veery, and Swainson's Thrush to name some that we caught today.
This spring has been the lowest in a 20 year history. We are still trying to network with other stations to get a picture of what may be going on with the low volume of birds. We banded around 5,019. It is a field total until the data gets into the computer. We are all hoping fall will prove to be better for the birds.
A quiz bird from one of our breeding bird stations (Note the tail pattern):
A female Prothonotary Warbler made the day at the Navarre M.A.P.S. station. The white in the tail is blurry with the gray bleeding into the white on the tail feathers. The male would have more retices with white and the demarcation of white and gray in the feathers would be crisp. She is still a fine bird to see!

Here is the front of the quiz bird:Lark Sparrow

This bird was captured at Oak Openings Metropark. We caught two second year males on Wednesday.

The Oak Openings Breeding Bird site is operated in partnership with the Metroparks of the Toledo Area. We are grateful for the long term cooperation with the Metroparks.
I would like to take this time to thank the many volunteers who have contributed their time and talents to the spring migration monitoring this year. Believe it or not some drive 1-2 hours to assist with the project. This says a lot for their commitment and I appreciate them and what they do for the project. THANK YOU!