By the 18th of June some birds had already started their annual molt and the phoebes nesting on top of the light fixture in the generator house had fledged. We were excited this day to band another Alder Flycatcher who was captured in a net where the male was singing. The male started singing on 19 May, continuing through the month of June, and then we ceased to hear him after 11 July. I suspected the 2nd Alder was a female due to her short wing and I was right. We recaptured her on the 11 July with a full brood patch! Neither the Birds of Massachusetts published in 1993 or the Mass Breeding Bird Atlas published in 2003 show Alders breeding on cape, the closest being northern Plymouth County. So it was an exciting find.
Our other neat capture on June 18th was the recapture of the oldest Common Yellowthroat on record according to the Bird Banding Laboratory longevity records. Our guy is officially 11 years old now and the oldest on record was caught in 1985 in New Jersey aged 10 years 11 months. We acutally recaptured him 3 times this season so we know the band was read correctly! He is aged 12Y (12 year) because he has entered his 12th year. His plumage was interesting in that he had some yellow feathers mixed in with the grayish-white feathers on his head.
The 18th also yielded our first Hairy Woodpecker for the season, a SY (second year) male. It always amazes me just how large their bill is compared to the Downy!
Our Downy from 16 July was a young male, he still had his red feathers on top of his head. As he molts his body feathers black ones will replace the red which will migrate to the back of his head.
Our first of many baby catbirds was caught on 4 July. Catbirds were the most abundant bird this summer.
We also banded an Orchard Oriole on the fourth, a species we don't handle very often. They are slightly smaller than Baltimore Orioles and take a smaller band size. The young of both sexes look similar but we can sex them most of the time by the length of their wing. This was a young female.
On July 16th we had a rare capture of a Sharp-shinned Hawk. We have never banded one in the summer before so it was a surprise to find this SY male in the net.
Our top ten species for the summer were:
SPECIES # BANDED
Gray Catbird 90
Common Yellowthroat 70
Baltimore Oriole 20
Eastern Towhee 13
Black-capped Chickadee 9
Song Sparrow 7
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4
Yellow Warbler 4
Downy Woodpecker 4