November 29th – A Long-distance Recovery!!

An old adage goes, “never look a gift horse in the mouth”. How many times have you heard me (or my cobanders) complain about American Goldfinches (just because we band so many)? Well, never again! We got a REAL gift because of them.
The banding office just notified me that a Goldfinch that we banded on June 9th, 2007 was recovered on March 28th, 2008 in Lacombe, Louisiana! Lacombe is just under 1,700 km southwest of us, just north of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain. I am going to look back and find the original banding information (age and sex) and I think I’ll write to the person that found the bird to find out the particulars. The bottom line is that this is the furthest distance from the banding lab that one of our birds has been found – and it wasn’t even a neotropical migrant but a Goldfinch!

I went out this morning to fill the feeders and to do a little banding and birding in the course of doing so. Not much around – only 18 species encountered duriing the morning. I had an interesting influx of American Goldfinches though (speaking of Goldfinches…): the last 5 that I handled were all caught at the same time around noon; 3 in net 1 and 2 in net 2. All five were adult (AHY) males. I have long thought that these birds, outside the breeding season, travel in same age/sex flocks. This would seem to lend credence to that notion. One of these was a retrap; it was originally banded in April 2006 as a SY (i.e., “Second Year”) bird, meaning it was hatched in 2005 thus making it 4 years old. This was the first time since the original banding that it had been recaptured.

Banded 11:
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
9 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 8:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 18 spp


Oh, and here are a few pictures from a class visit during the banding season.

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