Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring 2014 Passerine Banding has begun!

The weather has been up and down which is the usual for early spring in NW Ohio. A late snow last Tuesday night into Wednesday resulted in us holding off the daily opening of the Navarre station. We officially opened the banding station on Thursday to give the birds time to forage in the colder temperatures.

Kinglets, White-Throated Sparrows (WTSP) and Hermit Thrushes (HETH) were the most common when we started up the daily operation this past week. A few birds of interest have appeared in the daily BSBO Facebook posts but here are some interesting summaries so far. Seven warbler species have been seen or banded at the Navarre Marsh Unit of Ottawa NWR/ Davis Besse Nuclear Power Station property. They consist of Myrtle (MYWA), Black-throated Green (BTNW), Pine (PIWA), Black-and- White (BAWW), Prothonotary (PROW), Ovenbird (OVEN), and Louisiana Waterthrush (LOWA). The Louisiana Waterthrush is an overflight warbler for NW Ohio. It may be found breeding in the southern part of the state and further south.

One of the important pieces of information we gather from this long term data set is an idea of how long some of these birds live. Most songbirds, if they make it past their first birthday (January 1st) will live on average 2-4 years if they are fortunate. So far we have had 24 birds return that were banded in prior years. We have not calculated their ages at this point, but nonetheless, it is interesting to see how many have survived to return to this important habitat. Of course, most of these species are resident and did not make a long migration. However, they did have to withstand an unusually harsh winter here in NW Ohio.

Downy Woodpecker          1
Red-winged Blackbird       8
Song Sparrow                  5
American Robin               5
Northern Cardinal            2
Black-capped Chickadee   3

Here is a tip that can help birdwatchers to age Red-winged Blackbird (RWBL) females.... Here are After-second year (ASY) and Second Year (Hatched last year)(SY):

Female ASY RWBL- note bright orange lesser coverts

Female SY RWBL- note brown or tawny lesser coverts

Their face/throat coloration can also assist in ageing. Yellow face and chin signify a SY female in spring. (Note)-In Fall HY males can look tawny like this as well. Orange on face or chin usually represents an ASY female RWBL.

SY -left Female RWBL
ASY-right Female RWBL

Next week looks to be a good week for bird migration, so take time to go outdoors and experience early spring bird migration. The first wave of Neotropical Migrants usually hits around 24 April so be ready!

For birding predictions, follow Kenn Kaufman's migration blog at:

No comments:

Post a Comment