This has been a week of change at the banding stations. The passerine migration is winding down, the owl migration is really picking up, and the hawk migration is switching from Sharp-shinned Hawks to larger birds such as Northern Goshawks. Today is a rainy, cold, and a windy day, but the rest of the week promises westerly winds and the prospect of larger numbers of Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Goshawks and owls.
With no banding happening today due to weather, we have reached the end of the passerine banding season for Fall 2013. We will probably still catch a few birds in the raptor nets, but with the end of migration, another successful season is ending. With just an eager and committed crew of volunteers, we managed to band for 38 days from August 4-October 15. We banded 1409 birds of 65 species. We had to wait until October 14th to band our first Dark-eyed Junco, but we caught 46 of them that day. This week brought the first juncos, Tree Sparrows, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers for the season. Comparing 2013 to 2012, last year we banded just over 2100 birds of 67 species. Despite the huge number of Cedar Waxwings flying around the ridge, we didn’t catch one in the nets. We did have a good year for Black-throated Blue Warblers with three individuals including two stunning males. We also caught our first Golden-winged Warblers for the project. Thanks again to all of our volunteers who helped this year. — David Alexander
Owl banding picked up this week with 291 new owls banded including 273 Northern Saw-whet Owls and 18 Long-eared Owls. We also captured 20 saw-whets which had been previously banded taking our recaptures for the year to 53 birds. Our big night for the week was October 13 when we banded 111 saw-whets and 16 Long-eared Owls. We are also finally catching a few saw-whets born this year with 9% of the owls to date being hatch-year. This compares to 55% hatch year birds last year. The production of young is clearly lower this year. — Annmarie Geniusz
It was certainly slower this week then last when we banded over 400 hawks. Part was the weather and although migration was seen on some days, flight were high and hawks were non-responsive. A total of 79 hawks were banded during the week. Among them were: 54 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 4 Cooper’s Hawk, 10 Northern Goshawk, 4 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Broad-winged Hawk, 1 Rough-legged Hawk, 1 American Kestrel, 2 Merlins and 2 Peregrine Falcon. –Frank Nicoletti, Chris Neri, & Nova Mackentley
One of the reasons that our banding project runs so well is because of the numerous volunteers. Similar to last fall, we have many volunteer students who are in training. Some of these folks applied for the owl bander position, so even though I was unable to offer them the job, I did offer them the opportunity to come to Duluth to see how the banding stations operate. Many took me up on the offer. The season started with 3 students and 1 graduate from Purdue University. They had an “awesome” experience and hope to return. Others have come for long weekends and 2 are here to learn and and gain experience through volunteering. Rachel Harris is here from Marquette, MI and Lauren Haag is here from Bridgewater, NJ. They are staying longer periods and learning as much as they can about raptor and songbird migration and banding. We are also training many local volunteers, which help at the stations. Some of the regulars are: Karen Stubenvoll, Miranda Durbin, Bruce Munson, Caitlin Johnson, Kati Kristenson, Gary Leeper, Todd Burnside and Allen Best. There are also numerous folks that also help with songbird and owl banding. We could not function without them and I am personally grateful to my colleagues who help with training and mentoring all these folks.
|Bill Clark with an adult male Merlin, image by Frank Nicoletti
|Rachel Harris with her first goshawk, image by Kate Nicoletti
|Lauren Haag with a Merlin, image by Frank Nicoletti
|Rough-legged Hawk, image by Chris Neri
|Cooper’s Hawk, image by Miranda Durbin