Sunday, June 19, 2016

The start of the MAPS season in Saskatchewan!

Well the first 10 day period of the MAPS season is over now!  We have to operate 1 banding day during those ten days for each MAPS stations.  2016 marks the first year I am operating 3 MAPS stations, so there is lots to report already!  This is the 7th summer for the Wascana MAPS station (in the Habitat Conservation Area of Wascana Park), the 4th summer for the Saw-whet MAPS station (at our farm and adjacent Ducks Unlimited Canada property), and the 1st summer for the Edenwold West MAPS station (west of Edenwold, on a Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation property).  I am only able to operate these stations thanks to the numerous volunteers who help! A special thanks to them!

Wascana MAPS - June 18, 2016
A total of 56 birds of 12 species were captured during the 6 hours of banding using 10 nets.  We placed new bands on 49 of those birds and 6 were recaptures.  This is the lowest number of birds captured on the first session of the 7 summers, but was the same as in 2012.

This year there are at least 10 Marsh Wrens vocalizing in the marsh which is exciting, as they have not been present since 2013.  We did catch one.  What we did not hear on Friday or Saturday, was Song Sparrows calling.  Last year, we had our best Song Sparrow capture rate, with 26 birds banded.  So it is very strange to not hear them calling...
Marsh Wren

One of the most interesting recaptures was the only Gray Catbird we caught (which was strange).  This bird was banded in 2010 as young of the year!  Which makes this bird 6 years old.  But what was most interesting was that we have not seen this bird since banded him back in 2010.  Where has he been for all those summers in between, but very neat to see him back in the Habitat Conservation Area.
The recaptured Gray Catbird from 2010. 

Another recapture of significance was a male Tree Swallow which we banded back in 2012 as an adult which we caught on Saturday again!  He was an adult when banded in 2012, so that makes him at least 5 years old.
Tree Swallow from 2012.

Here is a list of all of the birds captured and recaptured from Wascana MAPS.

Species Banded Recap
Red-winged Blackbird 13
Yellow Warbler 11 4
American Robin 8 1
Cedar Waxwing 6
Least Flycatcher 3
Warbling Vireo 2
Common Grackle 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Marsh Wren 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Tree Swallow 1 1
Gray Catbird 1

Warbling Vireo

Saw-whet MAPS - June 13, 2016
Saw-whet MAPS had the highest capture rate of the three sites in the first period, with 58 new birds banded and 12 recaptures, for a total of 70 birds captured of 15 species.  7 mist nets are operated at this location.  A high number of Cedar Waxwings and Red-winged Blackbirds boosted our numbers.  But we also caught quite a few House Wrens.  We also captured three female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds but I do not have hummingbirds on my banding permit (nor the correct bands) so released them unbanded.
Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

We caught 3 female Brown-headed Cowbirds and all three were already banded.  One was banded in 2013 and two from 2015.
One of three Brown-headed Cowbirds captured.

Three male Yellow Warblers returned to our farm this year who were originally banded in 2013!

I think the most interesting recapture from this location, was a Song Sparrow that we banded as a young bird last year, has now returned and found his own territory.
Song Sparrow banded in 2015.

The list of the birds captured at Saw-whet MAPS.

Species  Banded  Recap
Cedar Waxwing 11
Red-winged Blackbird 10
House Wren 7
Least Flycatcher 5 1
Yellow Warbler 5 5
Gray Catbird 4
Baltimore Oriole 4
American Robin 3 1
Clay-colored Sparrow 3
Warbling Vireo 2
American Goldfinch 1
Song Sparrow 1 1
Common Grackle 1 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 3

House Wren
Male American Goldfinch

Edenwold West MAPS - June 15, 2016
I was very excited to start this site this year.  I had never heard of any birding reports from this piece of land and so wasn't really sure what to expect.  It is a half section that is predominately a solid block of trembling aspen.  There are some adjoining large blocks of aspen to the south east and west but essentially this is an island of forest in a sea of cropland.  What would we find?  I had hoped for Veery's, Red-eyed Vireos, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and maybe Ovenbirds.  

Well most of my hunch came to be, as we captured a single Veery and Red-eyed Vireo on the 15th!  We heard at least 3 Veery's calling, as well a couple of Red-eyed Vireo's and one Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  We didn't hear any other warblers besides Yellow.  
Red-eyed Vireo

We did catch 43 birds of 16 species all together, so it was a productive morning!  No recaptures, but not surprising as we have never banded here before.  However, we are only 6 miles away from the Saw-whet MAPS site, so we are hopeful we might get some dispersal between these two sites.  We operate 9 mist nets at this site.  

We also captured 3 female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at this site, that were released unbanded
Kristen extracting a bird from the mist net.


A list of the birds captured at Edenwold West.

Species  Banded  Recap
Least Flycatcher 6
Clay-colored Sparrow 6
Yellow Warbler 5
Gray Catbird 4
House Wren 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4
American Goldfinch 2
Cedar Waxwing 1
American Robin 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Baltimore Oriole 1
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Veery 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Male Yellow-bellied 

In total we captured 169 birds this first period.  The second period starts tomorrow... Here we go again!