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, May 2014

06.24.14
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This summary was compiled by Palomarin banding interns Kim Geissler and Brian Cole with help from Renée Cormier, Banding Supervisor.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

The breeding season continues with vigor! In May, the banding interns were busy catching fledglings of multiple species, and visiting two additional banding sites, Lagunitas Creek and Redwood Creek. Neither site failed to disappoint and resulted in some very eventful banding days full of many captures and species the interns had never seen in the hand before. Exciting mist nest captures of uncommonly caught species included Cedar Waxwings, MacGillivray’s Warblers, Band-tailed Pigeons, a Western Wood-Pewee, and a stunning Yellow Warbler.

Band-tailed Pigeon in the Palomarin banding lab. Because of its relatively large size, this species is rarely caught in our nets. Photo by Janelle Chojnacki.

Band-tailed Pigeon in the Palomarin banding lab. Because of its relatively large size, this species is rarely caught in our nets. Photo by Janelle Chojnacki.

The nest searching interns were also busy this month, finding nests for more than 10 species including those of Wrentits, Song Sparrows, and Wilson’s Warblers. The first American Goldfinch, Spotted Towhee and Nuttall’s White-crowned Sparrow nests were also found in May. When nestlings become old enough, they are banded and data is gathered on their size and feather growth. Because so many nests were found, nestlings were banded nearly every day. Luckily, the banding interns get to help!

Song Sparrow nestling from 1 of 8 Song Sparrow nests that were found in May. Photo by Janelle Chojnacki.

Song Sparrow nestling from 1 of 8 Song Sparrow nests that were found in May. Photo by Janelle Chojnacki.

Interns continuously monitor the nest boxes around the field station. The April conflict between two Western Bluebird pairs over a nest box was resolved this month and 4 nestlings hatched! The Chestnut-backed Chickadee nestlings that occupied another nest box were banded and fledged successfully. Cliff Swallow nests around the field station are also monitored. Nesting activity increased in May, with at least 3 pairs making nests on the building. Although most of the nests are difficult to see into, eggs were spotted in one of the nests!

Cliff Swallow pair building a nest on one of the buildings at the Palomarin Field Station. Photo by Janelle Chojnacki.

Cliff Swallow pair building a nest on one of the buildings at the Palomarin Field Station. Photo by Janelle Chojnacki.

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 29 days (3015.44 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in May, we captured 147 new birds and recaptured 124 previously banded birds. A total of 271 birds of 34 species were caught this month. Approximately 9 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 220 new birds and recaptured 193 previously banded birds. A total of 413 birds of 36 species were caught over 16 banding days this month (841.59 net hours), an average of approximately 26 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on May 27th at Palomarin with 17 birds and May 20th at Redwood Creek with 53 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Chestnut-backed Chickadee (36), Swainson’s Thrush (35), Wilson’s Warbler (26), Allen’s Hummingbird (22), and Song Sparrow (20).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Swainson’s Thrush (104), Wilson’s Warbler (67), Song Sparrow (61), Allen’s Hummingbird (42), and Orange-crowned Warbler (28).

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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