Well, things are on the move! All that rain we had last week produced
some of the first fallouts along the Gulf coast, and once the rain
cleared Monday and yesterday, many birds either arrived from the
tropics or, if they were already here, made their way north.
biggest fallout occurred along the Alabama coast. A bird bander working
down there banded 1,000 birds over the weekend! Some people, myself
included, have special permission from the US Fish and Wildlife Service
to capture birds in soft nylon nets called mist nets.
put a small numbered aluminum band on one of the bird's legs, like
an ID bracelet. This individual identification of birds makes possible
studies of dispersal and migration, behavior and social structure,
life-span and survival rate, reproductive success and population growth.
When banded birds are captured, released alive and reported from somewhere
else we can reconstruct the movements of the individual bird.
Warbler in mist net
this way we have learned that some species go south in one pathway
and return north by another pathway. Some banders use colored leg
bands to mark individual birds and study their local movements and
behaviors from a distance. Individual
identification of birds allows many things to be studied without handling
the bird again. Some things that may be studied include territorial
behavior, mate fidelity, territory size, and reproductive behavior
(which bird builds the nest? Feeds the young? How often?).
allows the determination of the minimum length of time that an individual
bird lives. Without an individual marker, there would be no way to
determine if the Cardinal that is outside my window is the same bird
that I saw last year or not. I once captured an American Redstart
here that someone else banded, and it turned out to be 8 years old
(the record is 10 years), There is a record of a hummingbird living
as long as 12 years!
a Gray Catbird
the rain cleared out, there was a big influx of new arrivals. Yesterday
on the Texas coast, birders reported large numbers of Rose-breasted
Grosbeaks, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, White-eyed
Vireos, Common Yellowthroats, Gray
Catbirds, and Orchard Orioles; and smaller
numbers of Hooded Warblers, Black-throated-green
Warblers, Nashville Warblers, and many other
that had arrived previously took advantage of the good weather to
continue their journey, with hundreds to thousands of Tree
Swallows reported in Delaware, New York, and Ohio, and
the first arrivals of Yellow-throated Warblers
and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in Illinois and Missouri.
west, migration was slow but steady. There were no big fallouts,
but there was a steady stream of flycatchers, warblers,
vireos, and orioles in New Mexico, 4 species of warblers,
especially Orange-crowned Warblers, in California,
and Arizona saw its first Lazuli Bunting of the
to Expect This Week
weather continues to be active. Take a look:
is a cold front that is pushing through the eastern US. The winds
behind it are not very strong, but the rain will still force birds
to land for a day.
the weather clears they had better get moving quickly because there
is another front moving in from the west. This one is stronger, with
some good north
winds that will keep birds grounded.
weather map does not show it, but weather forecasters are saying there
will be yet another front moving in over the weekend. All this means
that there could be some good birding, if the rain stops long enough
for you to get out!
rain and north winds will mean periods where there could be some more
fallouts, and the few clear periods will mean birds will try to make
it as far north as they can in a short time.
is really cranking up, so be on the lookout for new birds to show up in
your area! Take care.
North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy