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.

Monthly Banding Summary, July 2014

08.20.14
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This summary was compiled by Palomarin banding interns Brian Cole and Janelle Chojnacki with help from Renée Cormier, Banding Supervisor.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

What a whirlwind the month of July proved to be! At the field station, we banding interns saw a dramatic uptick in the number of birds caught each day. This flurry of birds at the station can likely be explained by the recent fledging of young birds that were bumbling through bushes and trees and into our nets.  See the sweet graph in the “Let’s Do the Numbers” section below for how this July compared to past ones for birds captured per day.

Notable captures at the field station this July included a Western Bluebird, possibly one of the same birds featured in the April monthly summary. We also captured a juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird, which was our first 2014 capture of this species at Palo. The cowbird is infrequently observed here at the station; nonetheless, a pair of a different species raised this bird since Brown-headed Cowbirds are brood parasites (females lay their eggs in the nests of other birds). To round out the exciting captures, a Hermit Warbler was a scintillating individual, even in its duller immature plumage.

A young Hermit Warbler captured at the Palomarin Field Station in July. Photo by Janelle Chojnacki.

A young Hermit Warbler captured at the Palomarin Field Station in July. Photo by Janelle Chojnacki.

The nest searching interns were still finding nests this month, albeit, at a reduced rate because the breeding season was coming to an end. July was the final month for these interns, but they were busier than ever compiling data and describing the territories, measuring vegetation around each nest and around the study area, calculating nest success, and documenting behavior of the birds they have come to know so well.

Let’s Do the Numbers:

July is always a busy month in terms of capture rate, but see how this year compared to past years in the graph below.

This graph demonstrates the number of birds caught at the Palomarin field station each July from 2004 to 2014. As indicated, we had a relatively high capture rate this past July, averaging just over 21 birds per banding day or 18 birds per 100 net hours (a more standardized way to compare years as it takes into account especially windy years when nets had to be closed earlier in the banding day; when we plotted birds per 100 net hours over the past decade, the pattern was the same).

This graph demonstrates the number of birds caught at the Palomarin field station each July from 2004 to 2014. As indicated, we had a relatively high capture rate this past July, averaging just over 21 birds per banding day or 18 birds per 100 net hours (a more standardized way to compare years as it takes into account especially windy years when nets had to be closed earlier in the banding day; when we plotted birds per 100 net hours over the past decade, the pattern was the same).

In 28 days (3213.88 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in July, we captured 370 new birds and recaptured 226 previously banded birds. A total of 596 birds of 35 species were caught this month. Approximately 21 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 314 new birds and recaptured 141 previously banded birds. A total of 455 birds of 31 species were caught over 18 banding days this month (994 net hours), an average of approximately 25 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on July 17 at Palomarin with 45 birds and July 11 at Lagunitas Creek with 42 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Chestnut-backed Chickadee (91), Oregon Junco (85), Swainson’s Thrush (60), Wrentit (59), and Wilson’s Warbler (46).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Swainson’s Thrush (103), Wilson’s Warbler (68), Song Sparrow (68), Wrentit (60), and Warbling Vireo (19).

While not one of the most abundant species captured this month, this young Common Yellowthroat was determined to be a male by the incoming black mask.

While not one of the most abundant species captured this month, this young Common Yellowthroat was determined to be a male by the incoming black mask.

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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