Wednesday, June 17, 2015

First Wascana MAPS session in the bag!

Last week we had a success first session at the Wascana MAPS banding station!  This is our 6th summer of banding songbirds in Wascana Marsh!  The Wascana MAPS station is located mainly in the Habitat Conservation Area in Wascana Park.  I now operate the station in a volunteer capacity (first 4 years were as the Park Naturalist of Wascana Centre).  In Saskatchewan, there are now 5 stations in operation - Wascana, Saw-whet (near Edenwold), Craven, Beaver Creek (near Saskatoon) and Love.  In North America, we are 5 of the 500 or so stations that operate each year!  To learn more about the MAPS program visit the Institute of Bird Population's website.

Thursday, June 11 was the day!  We started opening our ten mist nets at dawn, which on June 11 is at 4:47 am.  We keep them open for 6 hours and so begin closing them at 10:47.
A lot of volunteers out for our 1st session of the summer! Thanks everyone!

We had a pretty productive morning with 46 birds being banded and 17 birds being captured that already had bands on their legs! Below is a detailed break down of what we captured.  In total 13 species were captured during the course of the morning which is a little low, 14-17 was the range for the last 5 years.  The total number of birds captured was right in the middle of what we would expect for the first session (range 53-88 over the last 5 years).

Session #1
June 11/2015
Species Banded Recap
Red-winged Blackbird 18 2
American Robin 6 1
American Goldfinch 6 1
Yellow Warbler 3 9
Gray Catbird 3 3
Clay-colored Sparrow 3  
Cedar Waxwing 1  
Least Flycatcher 1  
Common Yellowthroat 1 1
House Wren 1  
Brown-headed Cowbird 1  
Baltimore Oriole 1  
Brown Thrasher 1  

Net 9 with a robin waiting to be removed.

What I always find interesting are the recaptures - these are birds that we have already captured and banded previously.  Because this is the first banding session of the year, all of the 17 birds recaptured are from previous years.

Of special note was one of the Red-winged Blackbirds.  This bird (#922-79909) was first banded in 2010 as a Second Year bird, meaning he hatched in 2009.  This makes him 6 years old now!  Interestingly, this is the first time we have recaptured this individual since originally banding him in 2010.  Where has he been all this time?
922-79909 telling me how much he likes me...

Two of the Yellow Warbler recaps were from 2011, making this their 5th summer in the HCA!  Amazing to think these little birds who weigh 9-10 grams can fly back and forth from Regina to Central or South America each year for 5 years now!  One of the warblers hatched in 2010 and the other in 2011, making these birds 5 and 4 years old, respectively. 

The last interesting thing about the recaps that I will mention, was 3 Yellow Warblers were captured in the same net on the last run of the morning (in net 9).  All three had been banded on May 26, 2013 in the HCA!  What are the chances we would catch those three birds together like that again.  Only 1 of these birds had we recaptured in other years.  

In total our recaps were broken down like this. 
Originally banded in:
2014 - 3 Yellow Warbler, 1 Red-winged Blackbird, 1 Gray Catbird, 
2013 - 1 Gray Catbird, 1 American Goldfinch, 1 American Robin, 1 Common Yellowthroat, 3 Yellow Warblers
2012 - 1 Yellow Warbler, 
2011 - 2 Yellow Warblers, 1 Gray Catbird
2010 - 1 Red-winged Blackbird

 A second year Baltimore Oriole male - a striking molt limit!

Releasing a female American Goldfinch. Just got her in the frame, lol, look at James' elbow.

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