End of season vibes & evidence of a long journey

May 24 – Lowville

The 24th definitely had an “end of season” feel… we weren’t catching many migrants, and there were lots of breeding birds around. It certainly feels more like summer every day. Although we only banded 10 new birds today, one of them was a species we hadn’t caught yet this spring: a Yellow-billed Cuckoo! Aliya joined me today, and because it was her birthday she got the pleasure of banding this awesome bird. A great way to spend a birthday in my opinion!

1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 American Robin
1 Northern Waterthrush
2 Mourning Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Gray Catbird
1 American Goldfinch
1 Song Sparrow
3 Common Yellowthroat
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Mourning Warbler

TOTAL: 21 (10 banded, 11 recaps)

The birthday girl, banding her first ever cuckoo!

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Notice the long tail on this species. Not only is the long spotted tail very distinctive, but the size of the spots at the end of the tail can help in aging Yellow-billed Cuckoos.

Mourning Warbler (female)

Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)

Northern Waterthrush – a unique warbler species that frequents the muddy banks of streams, bogs, and ponds





May 25 – Lowville

Today I was joined by Sarah, and we had the pleasure of welcoming Catherine back from her amazing adventure at Long Point Bird Observatory! We did catch a few more birds today than on the previous day but you can still definitely tell the season is coming to a close. One of the most interesting birds today was a Tennessee Warbler that was clearly in the midst of a long journey. His furculum (the wish bone area where birds store fat) was overflowing with fat and he weighed in at 14.2 grams (as much as an Indigo Bunting)! Birds put on excess fat in order to make long migratory flights, so this is potential evidence that this bird might still have a long flight ahead. Tennessee Warblers breed across the boreal forest all the way up to northern British Columbia and even into Nunavut! So as we released this bird we were wondering where he might be headed to!

1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
2 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 American Goldfinch
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
2 American Redstart
1 Tennessee Warbler
1 Mourning Warbler
1 Canada Warbler
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak


1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Gray Catbird
2 Song Sparrow
3 Common Yellowthroat
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Chestnut-sided Warbler

TOTAL: 25 (15 banded, 10 recaps)

Tennessee Warbler – this little guy has really packed on a lot of fat, which for birds is stored energy they will use to power long migratory flights. We wonder where he is headed, and hope he gets there safely!

Traill’s Flycatcher

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – When compared to the Traill’s Flycatcher above, you can see that the YBFL has a smaller bill and more yellowy olive color all over – particularly on the throat and eye ring

Magnolia Warbler

Head-on view of a Canada Warbler showing that lovely “necklace”

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Yellow Warbler – this species breeds at our site, but for whatever reason we don’t catch them particularly often

2 thoughts on “End of season vibes & evidence of a long journey

  1. Just to say, I’m glad to see this blog continues. I’ve enjoyed reading your reports and seeing your photos immensely! Thanks for making us feel like we were with you this season!

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