Friday, October 11, 2013


September started off very slow for migrants this year. Our first fall migrating American Redstart came in on the 5th, a young male. He looks very much like an adult female at this time of year.
It has been a bad year for what I believe is avian pox on young birds. We have seen so many birds with it on their legs, feet, or bills. Some years we hardly see it at all. This young female Baltimore Oriole had a badly deformed bill,  her upper mandible was quite short and veered off to the left.
The lower mandible was split in two. She was a healthy weight though so she must have been able to eat enough to keep her going.
Looking at her wing you can see the molt limit. She molted her first 3 greater coverts, a typical pattern of molt in HY birds of this species. They are longer and darker than the other greater coverts.
 The same day we captured a Common Yellowthroat with just one eye, maybe due to Mycoplasmosis, another avian disease. It is amazing how resilient these guys are with deformities.
On the 6th we caught a Blackpoll Warbler, not the earliest date for this species in the fall, but we normally start catching them a bit later.
The 7th brought in a female HY (hatch year) Black-throated Blue Warbler with her distinctive white patch at the base of the primaries,
and our first of the year Nashville Warbler, an adult female.

She had a few rufous feathers on her crown, which was grayish and didn't contrast too much with her back.
A hatch year male Hairy Woodpecker was banded on the 8th, he was molting his body feathers and his red cap was moving to the back of his head. For those non birders you can tell a Hairy Woodpecker from a Downy Woodpecker by the length of the bill, the bill is as long as the head (see arrows).

We had Marsh Wrens on the 12th and 14th.  Such pretty birds.
Marsh Wrens do an incomplete molt as first year birds, molting outer primary and inner secondary feathers. You can see the difference between the brown retained primaries and the darker gray replaced primaries.
Also banded on the 14th was a Traill's Flycatcher

and our first Western Palm Warbler of the season.
35 people attended our banding demo on the 15th and were treated to close up looks of numerous species of birds including a Connecticut Warbler, a highly secretive bird that we normally band only once or twice a year,

 a Veery, a type of thrush

and a young male Wilson's Warbler, our first for this fall season 

sporting a rather extensive black cap. Young males have quite a bit of green edging to the black feathers.
The third week in September brought in another bird we don't band often, a Cape May Warbler,
and our first for the fall, a Lincoln's Sparrow.
Ronald was excited to get one of his favorite birds on the 23rd. We don't often appreciate their beauty because they are so common. When my aunt visited here for the first time from England she couldn't get enough of this species, a Blue Jay!

Here he is studying the wing to figure out the age.
By comparing the picture in our resource book, Identification Guide to North American Birds by Peter Pyle (banders just call the book Pyle) he was able to correctly identify it as a hatch year bird by the lack of any barring on the primary coverts.
On the 25th we were happy to have some firsts for the year- a Blue-headed Vireo,
a Yellow-breasted Chat, of which we've had very few this year,
and a hatch year male Scarlet Tanager. Young males lack the brilliant red body plumage he will have as an adult, but have very black wing coverts compared to the females with a more dusky coloration.
Scarlet Tanagers have a distinct tooth shape in the middle of their upper mandible lacking in Summer Tanagers.
The following day we had a Black-and-white Warbler
  and our first fall Mourning Warbler.
Ron snuck in a picture with my camera of Jo-Anna trying to get a good photo of this little gem. 
Although we had a slow start, September turned out well with a good variety of birds. Thanks to all who helped out this month (in order of volunteer hours):

Ronald Kielb, Jo-Anna Ghadban, Gretchen Putonen, Pat Kempel, Carolyn Kennedy, Yianni Laskaris, Karli Rogers, Carly Congdon, Keenan Yakola, Ellison Orcutt, Judith Bruce, and Alex Mueller.

The following is a list of birds seen, heard, or banded during the month of September.
Total birds: 845                                       Total species: 85
Total species of banded birds: 47            Birds/100 net-hours: 38

Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
American Kestrel
Black-bellied Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 30 new; 2 recaps
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker 2 new; 3 recaps
Hairy Woodpecker 1 new; 1 recap
Yellow-shafted Flicker 2 new
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 1 new
Traill's Flycatcher 2 new
Eastern Phoebe 7 new
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Blue Jay 2 new
American Crow
Fish Crow
Black-capped Chickadee 22 new; 38 recaps; 2 unbanded
Tufted Titmouse 17 new; 6 recaps
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren 4 new; 10 recaps
House Wren 5 new; 2 recaps; 1 unbanded
Marsh Wren 3 new; 2 recaps; 1 unbanded
Eastern Bluebird
Veery 1 new
American Robin 3 new
Gray Catbird 226 new; 161 recaps; 8 unbanded
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher 1 unbanded
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Blue-headed Vireo 1 new
Red-eyed Vireo 13 new; 3 recaps; 1 unbanded
Nashville Warbler 6 new; 1 recap
Yellow Warbler 4 new
Cape May Warbler 1 new
Black-throated Blue Warbler 3 new
Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warbler 3 new
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler 4 new; 1 unbanded
Yellow Palm Warbler 3 new
Western Palm Warbler 1 new
Blackpoll Warbler 15 new; 1 recap; 1 unbanded
Black-and-white Warbler 1 new
American Redstart 2 new
Ovenbird 2 new; 1 recap
Northern Waterthrush 3 new
Connecticut Warbler 1 new
Mourning Warbler 1 new
Common Yellowthroat 40 new; 18 recaps, 3 unbanded
Wilson's Warbler 3 new; 1 recap
Yellow-breasted Chat 1 new; 1 recap
Scarlet Tanager 1 new
Northern Cardinal 3 new; 2 recaps
Eastern Towhee 9 new; 5 recaps
Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Song Sparrow 28 new; 33 recaps; 1 unbanded
Lincoln's Sparrow 3 new; 1 recap
Swamp Sparrow 2 new; 1 recap
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole 2 new
House Finch 1 new
American Goldfinch 34 new; 1 recap; 1 unbanded
House Sparrow 10 new





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