|Black-throated Blue Warbler – photo by Nova Mackentley|
The banding program is in full swing now. We started owl banding last night with Annmarie Geniusz as the official owl bander. It was a good first night with a total of 12 Northern Saw-whet owls banded. With owl banding underway, we are banding nearly 24 hours a day now. This hectic schedule will continue through at least November.
We conducted passerine banding on five days this week, and banded 75 birds. The first winter wrens, yellow-rumped warblers, white-crowned sparrows, and brown creeper arrived this week.
|Bald Eagle – photo by Chris Neri|
A total of 391 hawks were banded this week including: 1 Bald Eagle, 7 Northern Harriers, 353 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 6 Cooper’s Hawks, 6 Broad-winged Hawks, 4 Red-tailed Hawks, 4 American Kestrels and 10 Merlins. We had three straight busy days with the passage of a front starting on the 10th when daily totals were 93, 142, and 121 birds banded. The highlight was this third year Bald Eagle captured by Chris Neri at the Moose Valley station. Others birds banded included the first adult Cooper’s Hawks and 6 Broad-winged Hawks. The numbers of hawks banded and counted are still lower than normal of many species including Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, Red-tailed Hawk and American Kestrel.
We had some interesting visitors this week. One of them was Curt Erickson, who banded hawks near Hawk Ridge in 1955-1960. He now lives in Oregon where he still bands raptors. He has not returned here since 1960. We had a great discussion about the past and raptor banding. Another visitor stopped by the name of Raymond Naddy. This nice gentleman lived here in the late 40’s and early 50’s and wrote an interesting article in a national ‘Nature’ magazine about the migration of hawks in Duluth. In the August/September issue in 1949 he wrote about Davidson Hill (now known as Hawk Ridge). He states that it was a wildlife refuge with “no hunting” signs but unfortunately that did not stop some local ‘gunners’ from shooting the hawks- mostly “young red tails and sparrow hawks.” I have the article if anyone is interested in reading it.
Chris Neri made an interesting photo collage of different ages of Sharp-shinned hawks. As these birds age, their eye changes from bright yellow on birds born this year, to dark red on birds usually older than two years. The photo below shows these changes very well.
|Three Ages of Sharp Shinned Hawks, left to right are First Year, Second Year, and After Second Year|
Thank you again to all the volunteers and staff who make the banding program so successful.
Director of Banding