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, February 2017

06.16.17
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This summary was compiled by Point Blue’s Palomarin banding interns Meredith Heather, Isabel Lawrence, 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:

The first day of February brought a highlight capture of a Red-breasted Nuthatch, in which the interns took turns “smelling the little nugget of pine deliciousness.”  With a lot of rainy days to follow and not being able to open nets, the interns became very good at net-mending (and making pizza from scratch). Although February was a slow month for banding due to weather, there were a few more exciting captures. A Varied Thrush female was recaptured from January. Other captures include a recaptured Sharp-shinned Hawk and the first Bushtit for the winter season.

Red-breasted Nuthatch (male, second-year) recaptured at Palomarin Field Station on February 1, 2017. Photo by Kim Savides.

Red-breasted Nuthatch (male, second-year) recaptured at Palomarin Field Station on February 1, 2017. Photo by Kim Savides.

Nick Liadis with a Varied Thrush (female, after hatch-year) captured at Palomarin Field Station on February 11, 2017. Photo by Nicholas Liadis.

Nick Liadis with a Varied Thrush (female, after hatch-year) captured at Palomarin Field Station on February 11, 2017. Photo by Nicholas Liadis.

As the season was coming to an end for the winter interns, they spent many days and hours studying for their upcoming North American Banding Council (NABC) exams. They were tested on the skills on they had been learning over the past several months. After completing a written and field exam, they all become certified banders! Also wrapping up the season, the interns worked hard to finalize and present their capstone projects, ranging from bird-smart architecture designs to examining data sets for population cycles of certain species.

Along with banding at the Palomarin Field Station, banding also occurs at a few other nearby sites. With the large amount of rain, waders had to be worn to access some of the nets at Muddy Hollow in the Point Reyes National Seashore and some banding days at Pine Gulch (Marin County Open Space) had to be canceled because of flooding. When banding was able to occur, the interns caught their first Allen’s Hummingbird and a Common Yellowthroat!

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 13 days (1260.32 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in February, we captured 7 new birds and recaptured 17 previously banded birds. A total of 24 birds of 16 species were caught. Approximately 2 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 14 new birds and recaptured 16 previously banded birds. A total of 30 birds of 13 species were caught over 8 banding days in February (370.88 net hours), an average of approximately 4 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on February 1 at Palomarin with 4 birds and February 13 at Muddy Hollow with 8 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Ruby-crowned Kinglet (6), Song Sparrow (2), Hermit Thrush (2), Hutton’s Vireo (2), and Fox Sparrow (2).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Ruby-crowned Kinglet (8), Hermit Thrush (3), Chestnut-backed Chickadee (3), and Bewick’s Wren (3).

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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