July 31st, 2007

Hot early and, of course, very dry – we’re in the midst of a drought, the worst evidently in about 50 years. Any effect on the local bird population is not readily discernible though. The Yellow Warblers continue to move through in good numbers – we banded 11 today, all young birds. These birds are now beginning to show up with fat loads. So, are these local birds that are just getting ready for the long flight south or are they birds from farther north that are already on their way?

We also recaptured 3 local adults – all males – banded in different years:
Banded as a SY – M May, 2006 (this was the 7th time it had been caught)
Banded as a HY – U (now a Male) July, 2006 (1st recapture)
SY – M May, 2005 (1st recapture)

All of these adults were just finishing off a complete moult – some of their new flight feathers were not quite completely grown in. Same with 3 Baltimore Orioles we banded – one HY bird and 2 adults, both well into a complete moult.

One very intriguing bird was an adult female Swainson’s Thrush with remnants of a brood patch. Now, I am of the understanding (perhaps erroneous) that these birds breed farther north. The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas notes: “In general, there are almost no records south of the latitude of Lake Simcoe, and few south of Muskoka. There are, however, isolated records in Dufferin and Grey Counties……” In most instances (and I’m pretty sure thrushes are included in these instances), adult birds go through a complete moult in the area they breed in before heading south. If this is the case then this bird must have bred in the vicinity. (Although another option may be that adults of this species, after fledging young, move a short way south and then moult before making the full migration.) Interesting to think about…..

Banded 41:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Northern Flicker
1 Great Crested Flycatcher (an AHY female with remains of a brood patch)
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 House Wrens
1 Swainson’s Thrush
6 Gray Catbirds
11 Yellow Warblers
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Scarlet Tanagers (a male and female and both HY’s)
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
2 Indigo Buntings
1 Chipping Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
3 Baltimore Orioles
1 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 12:
1 Downy Woodpecker
3 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 Yellow Warblers
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Field Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows


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