Monday, March 1, 2010

Winter Banding

With today's relatively warm weather, I opened my banding nets for the first time in 2010. I caught about ten birds, including this White-breasted Nuthatch, originally banded on 8 July 2009--by no means a remarkable recovery, but nice to see that this individual is surviving the winter.
Northern Cardinals bite so hard, they are among my least favorite birds to band.  This male is about ready to let me have it! I think it is interesting that Cardinals at the banding station have greatly increased in numbers since last December.  I assume that this increase is due to post-breeding dispersal, rather than a true migration--but I am not sure.

I also banded American Goldfinches, a Downy Woodpecker, and several Dark-eyed Juncos.  I will have more to write about the later two species in the next couple of days.  One species I did not catch is the American Tree Sparrow.  Indeed, in what looks like ideal habitat to me, I have only caught one American Tree Sparrow in the last three years.  These birds are common elsewhere in the winter and during migration, so I am not sure why I don't band them more frequently.

Again I took these photos against a snowy background.  I think this makes for interesting portraits, but, with temperatures predicted in the 40s for the rest of the week, perhaps my snow will begin to melt.

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