Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Backyard Banding

I have been given the task of taking the reigns of the Wekiva banding site for a couple of weeks while Richard and Cristine are on a well deserved vacation in Alaska. If only I could be there...

So, with nets in possession, I have decided to gather some of my backyard birds and band as many as possible. Too bad the swarm of Blue Jays have waned. However, we do still have several generations of Northern Cardinals this year so I thought I might try to see how many I could band before the real migration heats up at Wekiva.

Here is our first downtown Orlando banded Cardinal.

Northern Cardinal

Caught this one on the side of the house while trying to see how I could set the nets around the yards. Recording info on the back of the car proved to be interesting but everything else went smoothly.

Now I am off to gather up as many others as possible. We have a bumper crop of Cardinals this year.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bathing Parula

The heat continues and the bird levels are still low. Out at Wekiva we managed to only capture 3 birds! My theory is that the weather was perfect for flying and most birds flew on south and didn't need to stop for a while.

We could hear them all over and see many flying by. Just nothing flying into the nets.

Yesterday, we had the monthly count at Mead Garden and found a similar situation. The woodpeckers were everywhere but the numbers of other birds were pretty low. New migrants were a couple of American Redstarts.

The most fun part of the morning was a Northern Parula that decided to stop and have a bath on the remaining dew on the leaves next to the boardwalk.

Northern Parula

A few Red-eyed Vireos rounded out the migrant list but I can't wait until the season is back in full swing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Where there are Doves...

...there are eventually raptors!

I stepped out of the car at work this morning to be greeted by the sound of nearly a dozen Blue Jays raising quite the alarm. It only took a few seconds for me to locate the cause.

Coppers Hawk

The Cooper's Hawk was bobbing and weaving as best it could, the Jays coming within inches of its head. Once it realized that I was watching as well it flew over to another oak. I tried to get a better shot from that spot but it took flight again, soaring out of the tree and just a few feet in front of me. It then headed toward the more dense stand of trees near the highway.

I had been told a hawk was haunting the parking lot. I would too with all the nice, plump Mourning and Eurasian-collared Doves that hang out just outside my window.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

New Hummers and a Late Visitor

Almost as hot as the previous week and mainly the same species of birds hitting the nets. However, we did have a nice surprise early in the morning when a Great-creasted Flycatcher showed up. Must be taking its time heading south this year.

Great-creasted Flycatcher

While we were hanging out near the banding table I could hear a new sound in the air. It wasn't the far overhead Chimney Swifts. I could swear I was hearing Hummingbirds.

Moments later, one of the visiting children started shouting, "Mommy! Mommy! There is a bird in the net!". I quickly started over and noticed not one but two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the same part of the net. Probably chasing one another and weren't paying attention to their surroundings too closely.

One managed to free itself as I was extracting the other but the one we got was a young male just beginning to add the namesake color to its throat.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

As with other Hummingbirds we capture, he was released as we cannot band these wonderful little powerhouses.

If we are lucky, we can get some more variety starting next week. I am ready for some blue and orange mixed in with the yellow.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

First Fall Migrants

The usual suspects today but we were surprised by a couple of 'early' migrants. The season is underway! Unfortunately, we are also in the midst of a lovely heat wave. Sweating commenced at 6:20 AM and increased with every movement.

I was hoping for some Yellow Warblers today. They always seem to get captured when I am NOT there if at all. I had to settle for a different yellow: Prairie Warblers. At least there were 15 of them.

Other birds we banded were Eastern Towhees, Brown Thrasher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Red-eyed Vireos. The real surprise was what seemed like a very early Ovenbird. Then another.


Later, checks of the records showed a slightly earlier account. August 3rd. Ten years ago.

As we took the nets down to end our agony of sweating I got to net 4 which was holding another Prairie Warbler and a female Black and White Warbler. Nice end to the count.

Black and White Warbler

We were going to take next week off but with the Ovenbirds and Warblers in evidence we decided to start the full banding season now.