July 20th – On your marks….get set……

And very soon it will be go! The long-distance migrants are getting ready. The young have been fledged and are now getting ready for their parents to cut them loose (if they haven’t already). Then they will “disperse” – move around the area checking out various habitats, committing them to memory for their return next Spring with a hope of having a breeding territory. And while doing so they will learn how to forage and escape predators – the unsuccessful will be demitted from the gene pool. And while the young are dispersing most of the adults are going through a “complete moult” – replacing all their feathers, including the big wing feathers. Right now they look pretty unkempt – ratty even.
Not all the young are independent. I saw Cedar Waxwings carrying food to their young, still in the nest, and I found a male Yellow Warbler feeding a young Cowbird – more than twice as big as it was. (Of course the American Goldfinches are just getting started.)
The number of birds we banded today (41) was up from previous outings and more than 80% of them were young of the year (Hatch Year or HY birds in banding jargon).

Banded 41:
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
1 House Wren
1 Wood Thrush
2 American Robins
12 Gray Catbirds
2 Blue-winged Warblers
7 Yellow Warblers
2 Common Yellowthroats
5 Northern Cardinals
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
5 Song Sparrows

Retrapped 21:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
3 Black-capped Chickadees
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Northern Cardinals
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
4 Song Sparrows
1 Baltimore Oriole
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 47 spp.

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