Tuesday, September 13, 2011

American Redstart

American Redstarts readily approach birders who make spishing or squeaking noises. Both sexes are territorial. Territory for the male serves to make sure he his the father of his mate's young, to assure that his mate enjoys optimum breeding habitat, to defend food resources for the pair, and to defend the area used to attract mates. Territories help the female make sure her mate is not lured away by competing females and to defend their habitat resources. Redstarts also defend winter territories (and return to them year after year). Winter territories defend food resources and may reduce competition between redstarts (Sherry and Holmes 1997). Second year males, which look similar to females, attempt to establish territories during the spring (see blog post of 10 June 2010).  A few breed, but most move away after a few weeks, and attempt to create territories elsewhere.
The upper photo was taken along the Cannon Valley Bike Trail this July; the female, below was caught, banded, and released this fall in Northfield.

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