Friday, July 8, 2011


As usual, the month of June is very slow birdwise. The majority of migrants have passed through and others are busy nesting. Our last day for monitoring spring migration was 16 June. It proved to be the second worst spring season for us since banding started on Wing Island in 2000. We banded only 260 new birds, compared to a norm of ~ 337. Weather proves to be a challenge on the cape in spring and this year was especially cold, windy, and rainy. I'll be curious to see if our fall will be impacted as well or if the birds will have made up for lost broods. We continue monitoring nets one or two days a week in summer to remove ticks from birds for infection surveillance with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension.

During the month of June we captured a total of 105 birds; 57 were new. My thoughts were on flycatchers on 3 June and sure enough we caught one, a Traill's Flycatcher, a probable Willow.

Our first Pine Warbler for 2011 was captured on our last net round for the day, a second year female. Her plumage was rather tattered and she had a molt limit in her tail feathers. Pine Warblers generally don't molt their tail as a young bird during their first prebasic molt, so she must have lost some tail feathers adventitiously (accidently) and the new ones replaced come in as adult feathers. She had a brood patch starting and was processed quickly.

A second year male Yellow Warbler but still  brilliantly colored showed up this day.

He had replaced his tertials and secondaries 5,6 during his first prebasic molt.

He even had some chestnut streaking on his crown that I don't often see. According to the Yellow Warbler account in The Birds of North America, the southern forms of this species have variable amounts of streaking on the head.

Our first hatch year birds showed up on 8 June. That is the earliest for us to see hatch years and I was quite surprised considering the cold spring we had. One was a Carolina Wren

and our first baby Song Sparrow.

All our baby birds are quickly processed and brought back to the net area where we captured them.

There were no notable captures again until 26 June when we had our first Great-crested Flycatcher. This bird presented with a non-extensive brood patch and since both sexes incubate the young we were unable to note the sex.

Our first Cedar Waxwings showed up also; a combination of males and females, five in all.

We had one with orange edging to the rectrices where the rest had yellow edging. She was probably munching on a variant honeysuckle species last summer when her tail feathers were growing. Here is a comparision, orange edging on the left, yellow on the right. They weren't too happy being photographed together and it was all we could do to keep the aggressive bird on the right from biting the bird on the left. These second year birds had no red waxy tips to their seconday feathers.

 One of the cutest babies captured on the 26th was our first of the year Barn Swallow!

The lack of extension of the tail feathers compared to adults is easily seen in this photo.

Late in the morning an adult female Ruby-throated Hummingbird showed up, our first one for the season.  
Many thanks to Gretchen Putonen and Judith Bruce for helping out at the banding station during the month of June. Birds seen, heard, or captured are shown below. 

 Total Birds: 105                               Total Species: 52
Total Banded Species: 16                  Birds/100 net-hours: 19

Great Blue Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Canada Goose
Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Bobwhite
Black-bellied Plover
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Great Horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird- 1
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Yellow-shafted Flicker
Traill's Flycatcher- 1
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher- 1
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow- 1
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee- 3
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren- 4
American Robin- 2
Gray Catbird- 23
Northern Mockingbird
Cedar Waxwing- 5
European Starling
Yellow Warbler- 2
Pine Warbler- 1
Prairie Warbler- 9
Common Yellowthroat- 25
Northern Cardinal- 3
Eastern Towhee
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Song Sparrow- 15
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch- 9
House Sparrow

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