Sunday, November 29, 2020

2020 Fall Bird Banding Results

Thanks to the flexibility of several experienced banding volunteers, fall bird banding was conducted at Lake St. Clair Metropark, Macomb County, Michigan, on 26 days between 8 August and 8 November 2020. A total of 1297 birds of 73 species was banded. Here is an accounting of the overall totals. Details of the banding days can be found by clicking on the link for the "Bird Banding Blog" above. A full report is being compiled and will be available sometime later this winter. 

Banding this fall simply could not have been done without the able assistance of the following volunteers:

April Campbell, Mike Charlebois, Guadalupe Cummins, Tamika Jaja, Ryan Jaja, Harry Lau, Rose Lau, Edie Schmitz, Blanche Wicke, and Sue Wright.

The number in brackets is the number of returning birds from previous seasons or previous years, and the numbers in parentheses is the standardized capture rate (i.e., number of individuals per 100 net hours).

Green Heron - 1 (0.05)
Northern Saw-whet Owl - 1 (0.05)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 73 (3.72)
Downy Woodpecker - 13 [3] (0.66)
Hairy Woodpecker - 2 (0.10)
Northern Flicker - 6 (0.31)
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 3 (0.15)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - 3 (0.15)
Alder Flycatcher - 2 (0.10)
Willow Flycatcher - 2 (0.10)
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 5 (0.25)
Least Flycatcher - 8 (0.41)
Eastern Phoebe - 5 (0.25)
Great Crested Flycatcher - 1 (0.05)
Blue-headed Vireo - 3 (0.15)
Warbling Vireo - 15 [3] (0.76)
Philadelphia Vireo - 11 (0.56)
Red-eyed Vireo - 18 (0.92)
Blue Jay - 5 (0.25)
Black-capped Chickadee - 26 [4] (1.32)
Tufted Titmouse - 7 [2] (0.36)
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 1 (0.05)
White-breasted Nuthatch - 4 (0.20)
Brown Creeper - 11 (0.56)
House Wren - 4 [1] (0.20)
Winter Wren - 10 (0.51)
Marsh Wren - 25 [1] (1.27)
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 44 (2.24)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 44 (2.24)
Veery - 7 (0.36)
Gray-cheeked Thrush - 27 (1.38)
Swainson's Thrush - 168 (8.56)
Hermit Thrush - 147 (7.49)
Wood Thrush - 4 (0.20)
American Robin - 38 [1] (1.94)
Gray Catbird - 15 [1] (0.76)
Brown Thrasher - 1 (0.05)
Cedar Waxwing - 2 (0.10)
Blue-winged Warbler - 1 (0.05)
Tennessee Warbler - 7 (0.36)
Nashville Warbler - 21 (1.07)
Northern Parula - 4 (0.20)
Yellow Warbler - 4 [1] (0.20)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 2 (0.10)
Magnolia Warbler - 34 (1.73)
Cape May Warbler - 1 (0.05)
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 16 (0.82)
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 10 (0.51)
Black-throated Green Warbler - 2 (0.10)
Palm Warbler - 13 (0.66)
Bay-breasted Warbler - 7 (0.36)
Blackpoll Warbler - 18 (0.92)
Black-and-white Warbler - 5 (0.25)
American Redstart - 50 (2.55)
Ovenbird - 8 (0.41)
Northern Waterthrush - 20 (1.02)
Mourning Warbler - 1 (0.05)
Common Yellowthroat - 9 (0.46)
Wilson's Warbler - 10 (0.51)
Canada Warbler - 4 (0.20)
Scarlet Tanager - 1 (0.05)
Northern Cardinal - 9 [4] (0.46)
Eastern Towhee - 1 (0.05)
American Tree Sparrow - 3 (0.15)
Fox Sparrow - 1 (0.05)
Song Sparrow - 34 [2] (1.73)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 2 (0.10)
Swamp Sparrow - 15 (0.76)
White-throated Sparrow - 42 (2.14)
White-crowned Sparrow - 4 (0.20)
Dark-eyed Junco - 4 (0.20)
Baltimore Oriole - 11 (0.56)
House Finch - 5 (0.25)
American Goldfinch - 155 [17] (7.90)
House Sparrow - 1 (0.05)

Friday, November 20, 2020

First Black-chinned Hummingbird in Ohio

On Saturday, November 14, Cheryl Bater noticed a hummingbird at her feeder in Galloway, Franklin County, Ohio, and later that day Jennifer Allen was able to obtain some photos. It was a dull, overcast day and the photos did not show colors very well, but it was clear that it was not the more expected (but still quite rare) Rufous or Allen's Hummingbird, but was either a Ruby-throated or Black-chinned. The shape of the outermost primary wing feather is diagnostic for each species, but Jen's photos didn't quite let me see which species it might be. The next day, the lighting was better, and Jen once again went over to Cheryl's and got better photos. A couple photos appeared to show is the curved, broad, blunt-tipped wing characteristic of Black-chinned...the bird obligingly raised up its wings a couple of times. Thanks to Jennifer Allen for allowing me to use a couple of her photos here.

Immature male Black-chinned Hummingbird.
Photo by Jennifer Allen

A couple of Jen's photos showed that the single dark feather on the bird's lower throat was actually blue-purple, not ruby-red, making a very good case for this being Ohio's first ever Black-chinned Hummingbird!

Immature male Black-chinned Hummingbird.
Photo by Jennifer Allen


Cheryl allowed me to come out the next morning , November 16, to try to band the bird and confirm what was apparently visible in Jen's photos. The bird had been at the feeder about 10 minutes prior to my arrival at 9:30 a.m. It reappeared almost immediately and was seen every 10 minutes until I set up my trap at 9:50. I captured the bird almost immediately when it returned to the yard at 9:51. This was surprising since Cheryl had said that the bird was rather skittish.

In-hand, it was easy to confirm all the diagnostic characteristics of this immature (hatch-year) male Black-chinned Hummingbird. The presence of grooves or "corrugations" on 90% of its bill confirmed that it was a hatch-year. It turned out that he had not one, but two iridescent purple (amethyst) throat feathers. 

Hatch-year male Black-chinned Hummingbird
Photo by Allen T. Chartier

The lighting conditions made it difficult for me to get a good photo showing the color of these gorget feathers, but once again Jennifer came to the rescue and got the photo below showing this beautiful color.

Hatch-year male Black-chinned Hummingbird
Photo by Jennifer Allen

The diagnostic curved, broad, blunt-tipped outermost primary was easily seen on its spread wing.


Hatch-year male Black-chinned Hummingbird
Photo by Allen T. Chartier


Here is a photo of the wing of a hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird for comparison.

Hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

There are subtle differences in the tails of Ruby-throated and Black-chinned hummingbirds. The photo below shows the slightly more pointed outermost two tail feathers of this Black-chinned Hummingbird. I do not have a tail photo of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird for comparison.

Hatch-year male Black-chinned Hummingbird.
Photo by Allen T. Chartier


This Black-chinned Hummingbird was banded under Federal permit No. 23156 and Ohio permit No 23-015, and released at 10:02 a.m. The bird had returned to the feeder by about 10:15 a.m. and came in to feed every 10 minutes over the next hour as we discussed strategies for allowing birders to visit. I left the area at 11:00 a.m.

To read a more detailed report on this bird, including measurements, click here.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

October and November 2020 Bird Banding Results

Bird banding was conducted at Lake St. Clair Metropark, Macomb County, Michigan on a total of 9 days in October and 2 days in early November. Results, and photos highlights (more than 50 photos) are included on the bird banding blog, which can be accessed at the Bird Banding Blog link above, or accessed directly by clicking the link below:

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Anna's Hummingbird in Indiana

Indiana's first Anna's Hummingbird, a female, was found in 2010 at a private residence where birders could not visit. On the afternoon of November 2, 2020, I was contacted by a homeowner in Lake County, Indiana about a hummingbird they had at their feeders since October 31. One of their photos is below. It was pretty clear to me that it was an immature (hatch-year) male Anna's Hummingbird. The homeowners contacted a local birder (I live in Michigan) who managed some additional photos before it got dark, and he agreed that it was an Anna's Hummingbird. These generous people then opened up their back yard to visiting birders.

Immature male Anna's Hummingbird



I was also contacted by Don Gorney about the possibility of banding this bird, as I have done with many other rare hummingbirds in Indiana. Discussions about this with the homeowners were brief, as they had attended a hummingbird banding program that I do annually at the Indiana Dunes State Park every August. So I scheduled the banding for a Friday, November 6, when there might not be too many people around (for COVID compliance). When I arrived at 8:30, the bird had just made a brief appearance at 8:20. It returned at about 8:55, and it lingered for about 10 minutes, checking out each of the 4 feeders that were available in the back yard. I did not take any photos of the bird at this time, but Amy Hodson has generously given me permission to include one of her photos here.

Immature male Anna's Hummingbird, photo by Amy Hodson

I set up my trap at 9:15 and waited for about 45 minutes before the bird reappeared, and immediately went in and was captured. Amy Dodson's photo below shows me examining the bird's bill with a 10x magnifier to determine the extent of tiny grooves on the bill that are the main way to determine a hummingbird's age in-hand.

Allen Chartier examining Anna's Hummingbird's bill.

All plumage characteristics confirmed that this bird was indeed a hatch-year male Anna's Hummingbird, in fairly advanced molt with a lot of iridescent gorget feathers and an adult-type tail.

Hatch-year male Anna's Hummingbird


The hind-crown and cheek had a few blue-purple feathers mixed in with the mostly rose-red ones on the throat and crown. This is not considered a sign of the bird being a hybrid (in this case most likely with Costa's), as hybrids typically have all gorget feathers intermediate in color, not mixed with two colors.

Hatch-year male Anna's Hummingbird

Hatch-year male Anna's Hummingbird


The shape of the tail feathers, particularly the outers, was completely consistent with Anna's Hummingbird.

Hatch-year male Anna's Hummingbird

All measurements that were taken were consistent with male Anna's, and were outside the range for Costa's or hybrids with Costa's. Anyone wishing to read more details about these measurements and the process for eliminating other species and hybrids can download a PDF of my report to the Indiana Bird Records Committee by clicking here.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

September 2020 Bird Banding Results

The fall bird banding season continued through September, and the results and highlights for the month have been posted to the Bird Banding Blog page. Read about it by clicking on the Bird Banding Blog link above, or you can go there with this link:

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Video tour of bird banding station

 I have just posted a 16 minute video tour of the bird banding station that I have been operating since 2015 at Lake St. Clair Metropark, Macomb County, Michigan. To view the video, click here.

Monday, September 7, 2020

2020 Fall Bird Banding Blog Updated

The fall bird banding season began in early August, and the results and highlights for the month have been posted to the Bird Banding Blog page. Read about it by clicking on the Bird Banding Blog link above, or you can go there with this link: