Point Blue's Palomarin Blog

Taking the Long View: An inside look at the goings-on at the longest running avian ecology field station west of the Mississippi.

Point Blue Conservation Science: Palo’s Monthly Banding Summary, January 2017

06.09.17
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This summary was compiled by Point Blue’s Palomarin banding interns Kim Savides and Nick Liadis with help from Mark Dettling, Banding Supervisor.

About Point Blue: Our mission is to conserve birds, other wildlife, and ecosystems through science, partnerships, and outreach.

Our Vision: Because of the collaborative climate-smart conservation work we do today, healthy ecosystems will continue to sustain thriving wildlife and human communities well into the future.

Visit Point Blue’s website to learn more.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

January is not just a time to celebrate the transition into a new year—it is also time celebrate all the birds’ birthday! To simplify and standardize aging birds, banders refer to the calendar year of life a bird is in and give all birds a “birthday” on January 1. So all of the birds hatched last year are now considered second year (SY) birds, while our older birds that bred last summer are after-second year (ASY), and if we can’t tell the age of the bird but we know it wasn’t born in 2017, we call it an after-hatch year (AHY) bird.

This month the Bay Area experienced some significant, and much needed, rainfall. In January we measured 281.6 mm of rain at Palo. For the previous two Januarys, Palo measured 224.4 mm in 2016 and just 3.2 mm in 2015. All of the rain did limit our time out banding this month, but we did manage to make up all of our rained-out days and capture some interesting birds too!

At Muddy Hollow (in Point Reyes National Seashore), one of our more exciting birds was a recaptured female Nashville Warbler.  After taking down its band number and checking our records we found that we banded it back in November! This wasn’t the only suspected rare wintering species we captured this month.

Nashville Warbler (left) and Orange-crowned Warbler (right) captured at Muddy Hollow in January, 2017. Photo by Kim Savides.

Nashville Warbler (left) and Orange-crowned Warbler (right) captured at Muddy Hollow in January, 2017. Photo by Kim Savides.

While banding at Pine Gulch in the town of Bolinas, we captured an Empidonax flycatcher! Though we were unable to identify it to a specific species, all of these confusing flycatchers do not usually winter in the area. This capture really piqued the interest of the staff here at Palo as well as the local birders.

Unknown Empidomax Flycatcher captured at Pine Gulch in January, 2017. Photo by Kim Savides.

Unknown Empidomax Flycatcher captured at Pine Gulch in January, 2017. Photo by Kim Savides.

Some other exciting captures here at Palo included an ASY male Townsend’s Warbler, several Sharp-shinned Hawks, and only our second Varied Thrush for the winter season.

After-second year male Townsend’s Warbler captured at Palomarin Field Station in January, 2017. Photo by Nick Liadis.

After-second year male Townsend’s Warbler captured at Palomarin Field Station in January, 2017. Photo by Nick Liadis.

After-second year Sharp-shinned Hawk captured at Muddy Hollow in January, 2017. Photo by Nick Liadis.

After-second year Sharp-shinned Hawk captured at Muddy Hollow in January, 2017. Photo by Nick Liadis.

Second-year female Varied Thrush captured at Palomarin Field Station in January, 2017. Photo by Nick Liadis.

Second-year female Varied Thrush captured at Palomarin Field Station in January, 2017. Photo by Nick Liadis.

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 14 days (1616.87 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in January, we captured 20 new birds and recaptured 50 previously banded birds. A total of 70 birds of 17 species were caught. Approximately 5 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 46 new birds and recaptured 75 previously banded birds. A total of 121 birds of 24 species were caught over 12 banding days in January (546.34 net hours), an average of approximately 12 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on January 9th at Palomarin with 12 birds and January 2nd at Muddy Hollow with 31 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Ruby-crowned Kinglet (32), Hermit Thrush (7), Wrentit (4), Spotted Towhee (4), and Golden-crowned Kinglet (4).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Ruby-crowned Kinglet (34), Song Sparrow (26), Hermit Thrush (9), Wrentit (6), and Fox Sparrow (5).

About these Summaries:

In an effort to share our science with the public, Point Blue interns and staff at our Palomarin Field Station (Palomarin or “Palo”) in Point Reyes National Seashore near Bolinas, CA produce these monthly bird-banding summaries. Our science interns create these summaries as part of their science outreach training.

Our Palomarin Field Station is open to the public.  Consider visiting us!  Learn how by visiting our mist-netting demonstrations web page.

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