Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Banding Report

Let me assure my gentle readers that neither this juvenal Northern Saw-whet Owl nor the bander were in any way injured while taking this photograph. I banded this owl on 23 June 1983 in western South Dakota, at the confluence of the Cheyenne and Bell Fourche rivers.  At this location, some 70 miles east of the Black Hills, stands a remnant grove of Ponderosa Pines. I led a summer field trip with about a dozen college students to study the plants and animals found in the area. Banding not only tells you where birds go, but also what birds inhabit an area and, sometimes, their breeding condition.

I post this photo both because this plumage is rarely seen and to let you know that I have updated my annual banding reports to include 2014, and to compare those totals with statistics from 2008-2013. This year, 2014, saw 789 individual birds banded, the lowest in my seven year’s of banding near Northfield. The average is 1207 per year. Species showing above average numbers include American Goldfinch, Tennessee Warbler, and Hermit Thrush. Birds with below average numbers include American Robin, Cedar Waxwing, and Chipping Sparrow. Just click on the tab below the banner at the head of this blog to see the complete details.


  1. Wow, those numbers are down! Any way of knowing whether that is indicative of a general decline or simply variable migration patterns? (Though I note that summer numbers are down too.) There must be a national database of banders' numbers somewhere. Of central flyway numbers?

    1. We had many more days with no birds banded than in previous years. Of course this “trend” may be entirely local.