Sunday, June 17, 2012

Metro Beach spring banding totals

The spring of 2012 was the most successful since 1989, with a record total of 997 new birds banded of 64 species, plus 274 recaptures (which included 116 returnees of 19 species from previous years). The highlights included the first ever Clay-colored Sparrow for the station, which was the 120th species banded here, and only the 2nd and 3rd ever Solitary Sandpipers. Less rare but still noteworthy was the first spring capture of a Mourning Dove, as well as a single Eastern Kingbird, two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, two Brown Thrashers, and single Field and Savannah Sparrows, and Rusty Blackbird, none of which is captured every year. Record numbers of Alder Flycatchers, Warbling Vireos (spring record), Cedar Waxwing (spring record), Swamp Sparrows, Common Grackles, and Brown-headed Cowbirds (tied record) were banded. Red-winged Blackbird deserves special mention as this spring provided the second highest number ever banded. And Lincoln's Sparrows were banded in the third highest numbers ever, spring or fall. Notable misses included Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Gray-cheeked Thrush, American Redstart, American Tree Sparrow, and Dark-eyed Junco; the latter two likely a result of the very early and warm spring driving wintering birds out of the area before the banding season began on April 7. Species captured in low numbers included Eastern Phoebe, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Swainson's Thrush, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Canada Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Fox Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow. Several of these may also have departed with the early spring weather. A detailed banding report should be finished sometime this summer, and will be posted to my website at:

Spring 2012 Bird Banding Totals

Solitary Sandpiper - 2
Mourning Dove - 1
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 8 (plus 1 return)
Downy Woodpecker - 5 (plus 2 returns)
[Hairy Woodpecker - 1 return, from 2004!]
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 2 (plus 1 return)
Alder Flycatcher - 8
Willow Flycatcher - 3
"Traill's" Flycatcher - 4
Least Flycatcher - 5
Eastern Phoebe - 1
Eastern Kingbird - 1
Warbling Vireo - 10 (plus 1 return)
Red-eyed Vireo - 2
Blue Jay - 2
Tree Swallow - 5 (plus 1 return)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 11
Black-capped Chickadee - 3 (plus 9 returns)
Tufted Titmouse - 1 (plus 1 return)
Brown Creeper - 6
House Wren - 11
Winter Wren - 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet - 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 13
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher - 2
Veery - 4
Swainson's Thrush - 7
Hermit Thrush - 20
Wood Thrush - 2
American Robin - 43 (plus 3 returns)
Gray Catbird - 26
Brown Thrasher - 2
European Starling - 6
Cedar Waxwing - 7
Nashville Warbler - 5
Yellow Warbler - 49 (plus 24 returns)
Chestnut-sided Warbler - 3
Magnolia Warbler - 8
Black-throated Blue Warbler - 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler - 19
Black-throated Green Warbler - 3
Palm Warbler - 3
Black-and-white Warbler - 7
Ovenbird - 8
Northern Waterthrush - 9
Mourning Warbler - 7
Common Yellowthroat - 37 (plus 9 returns)
Wilson's Warbler - 13
Canada Warbler - 3
Northern Cardinal - 4 (plus 1 return)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 2
Clay-colored Sparrow - 1
Field Sparrow - 1
Savannah Sparrow - 1
Fox Sparrow - 1
Song Sparrow - 21 (plus 16 returns)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 27
Swamp Sparrow - 216 (plus 3 returns)
White-throated Sparrow - 75
White-crowned Sparrow - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 142 (plus 18 returns)
Rusty Blackbird - 1
Common Grackle - 40 (plus 2 returns)
Brown-headed Cowbird - 10 (plus 3 returns)
Baltimore Oriole - 12 (plus 12 returns)
American Goldfinch - 40 (plus 8 returns)

I would like to thank the following 30 volunteers who made banding this spring possible. The number of hours each person volunteered is in parentheses (volunteers working 25 hours or more this year will earn a free annual Metroparks pass for 2013).

John Bieganowski (28.5), David Boon (10.0), Corey Braden (10.25), Mary Buchowski (10.0), Terri Chapdelaine (9.0), Brandon Charlebois (6.5), Chris Charlebois (2.0), Jacob Charlebois (23.0), Mike Charlebois (18.0), Diana Dugall (10.5), Karen Fenwick (10.0), Jean Gramlich (18.5), Wayne Hoch (31.0), Jeremy Joswick (9.0), Stevie Kuroda (12.25), Dave Lancaster (39.5), Ava Lau (8.0), Harry Lau (8.0), Rose Lau (8.0), Steve Mangas (38.0), Marie McGee (18.0), Kevin Rysiewski (10.0), Tom Schlack (56.0), Edie Schmitz (27.0), Joan Tisdale (10.5), Holly Vaughn (9.0), Judi Wade (29.75), Bruce Watson (12.25), Blanche Wicke (58.0), and Sue Wright (10.5).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Metro Beach banding station report - season finale

Banding was conducted on two days this past week, Thursday May 31 and Saturday June 2. Despite predictions for rain both days, we had none so conditions were very good for banding, except for increasing wind on Saturday. A few late migrants were banded along with another fledged young bird, this time the expected species; American Robin. Many birds with brood patches and cloacal protuberances also provided evidence of breeding in the banding area by these species. A summary of the entire season will be posted here sometime in the next few days, and a detailed report will be posted to my website later this summer.

Banding could not have been conducted on these two days without the following dedicated volunteers: John Bieganowski, Jacob Charlebois,Mike Charlebois, Jean Gramlich, Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas, Marie McGee, Judi Wade, and Blanche Wicke.

Highlights of the 32 birds banded on Thursday, May 31 included a single Ruby-throated Hummingbird, and an Eastern Wood-Pewee which isn't caught here very often in spring.

After hatch-year Eastern Wood-Pewee

Two more Alder Flycatchers were also nice to catch, since Empidonax flycatchers are among my favorites. Three more Northern Rough-winged Swallows were unexpected, as capturing any swallows at this station is a rather random and infrequent event.

After hatch-year male
Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Most spring seasons see a late push of thrushes, so this Swainson's Thrush was not unexpected though the number banded this spring was quite low (and we missed Gray-cheeked entirely).

Second-year Swainson's Thrush

Two more Cedar Waxwings banded today brought us to a spring record total of seven. Mourning Warbler is a late migrant with a disjunct breeding population about 50 miles north of the banding station (most nest 100 miles or more north of here), so another female brought the number banded this spring up to a fairly good total.

Second-year female Mourning Warbler

Another late migrant is the Canada Warbler, but the female today was only the third for the season, reflecting on the low numbers banded in the past several years.

Second-year female Canada Warbler

Quite unexpected was this Brown Thrasher, the second banded this spring. They likely do nest in the park some years, but well away from the banding area, and there had not been one in the area for at least a month.

After hatch-year Brown Thrasher

After hatch-year Brown Thrasher

Most years we also see a late push of a few Lincoln's Sparrows. It is tempting to think these may belong to a disjunct breeding population that occurs about 75 miles north of the banding station, but there's no way to know for sure. Most Lincoln's Sparrows nest more than 100 miles north of here.

After hatch-year Lincoln's Sparrow

Interesting birds observed today but not banded included an American Woodcock that was flushed from the side of the banding road in the early afternoon. I did not hear this species displaying during early April this year; possibly they arrived in February (as at one or more other Michigan locations) and set about breeding in March. Two Blue-gray Gnatcatchers appeared to be feeding young in an unseen nest above the banding station, and a male Wilson's Warbler sang nearby all day, avoiding the nets.

Highlights of the 18 birds banded on Saturday, June 2 included a Red-eyed Vireo, which is only the second here since 2004 (more were banded during the 1989-1999 period for reasons still unknown). This individual today was showing a brood patch and had an egg visible in her abdomen, so clearly was breeding in the area. The woodlands in this park are not large enough to support more than one or two breeding pairs of Red-eyed Vireos.

After hatch-year female Red-eyed Vireo

A Warbling Vireo wearing a band from 2011 was also captured today; originally banded as a hatch-year last fall. And the first hatch-year American Robin tumbled gently into the Field Nets, followed by what turned out to be one of his parents, a male banded earlier this spring. Both were released together so they could keep in touch, even though the young bird was almost certainly independent and able to feed itself.

Hatch-year American Robin

A Swamp Sparrow wearing a band from 2010 was the first of its species captured in about two weeks. He had been banded as a hatch-year in early fall 2010.

Interesting birds observed but not banded today included a Yellow-billed Cuckoo found by Blanche, who also found the Black-billed in almost the same spot a couple weeks ago! A male Mourning Warbler sang from an area where he certainly could have been caught in four different nets, but he avoided capture, and a female Wilson's Warbler foraged in shrubbery next to the station for most of the day.

Banding Data
THURSDAY, May 31, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 4:59
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:45
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:45
Hours Open: 7.0
No. of Nets: 4.5-13.5
Net Hours: 87.50
Temperature (F): 52-64
Cloud Cover: 90-80%
Wind: N-SE @ 7-10-12 mph
Barometer: 30.01-30.02
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 32 (plus 12 recaptured and 1 released unbanded)
No. of Species: 20
Capture Rate: 51.4 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.00 hours, 5:00-14:00): John Bieganowski, Mike Charlebois, Jean Gramlich, Dave Lancaster, Steve Mangas, Marie McGee.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee - 1
Alder Flycatcher - 2
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - 3
Swainson's Thrush - 1
[American Robin - 1 recaptured and 1 released unbanded]
Gray Catbird - 1 (plus 2 recaptured)
Brown Thrasher - 1
Cedar Waxwing - 2
Yellow Warbler - 5 (plus 4 recaptured)
Mourning Warbler - 1
Common Yellowthroat - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Canada Warbler - 1
Song Sparrow - 4 (plus 1 recaptured)
Lincoln's Sparrow - 1
[Northern Cardinal - 1 recaptured]
Red-winged Blackbird - 2 (plus 2 recaptured)
Common Grackle - 4
[Baltimore Oriole - 1 recaptured]
American Goldfinch - 3

SATURDAY, June 2, 2012
Sunrise (E.S.T.): 4:58
Time Open (E.S.T.): 5:30
Time Closed (E.S.T.): 12:30
Hours Open: 7.00
No. of Nets: 4.5-13.5
Net Hours: 87.50
Temperature (F): 49-66
Cloud Cover: 100-50-100%
Wind: SW-SE @ 7-12-15 mph
Barometer: 29.69-29.68
Precipitation: None
No. Banded: 14 (plus 18 recaptured)
No. of Species: 13
Capture Rate: 36.6 birds per 100 net hours
Volunteers (worked 9.0 hours, 5:00-14:00): Jacob Charlebois, Mike Charlebois, Steve Mangas, Judi Wade, Blanche Wicke.

[Downy Woodpecker - 1 recaptured]
[Warbling Vireo - 1 recaptured]
Red-eyed Vireo - 1
American Robin - 3 (plus 2 recaptured)
Yellow Warbler - 1 (plus 7 recaptured)
Common Yellowthroat - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
Song Sparrow - 2 (plus 3 recaptured)
[Swamp Sparrow - 1 recaptured]
Northern Cardinal - 1
Red-winged Blackbird - 2 (plus 1 recaptured)
[Common Grackle - 1 recaptured]
Baltimore Oriole - 1
American Goldfinch - 1