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, February 2016

This summary was compiled by Palomarin banding intern Katie Temple with help from Mark Dettling, Banding Supervisor.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

February was a relatively warm month with many sunny and dry days. Though we had nice weather, it was an exceptionally slow banding month for us. In fact, it was the slowest February in the last four years. At our Palomarin banding site (Palo) we caught 24 birds and at our other West Marin banding sites we caught a total of 48 birds. For the whole of this month we caught 72 birds total at all sites combined. February has historically been a slow time for banding at Palo and at our other sites, as there are the fewest number of birds because the main influx of spring migrants hasn’t begun and there is often mortality of birds over the previous winter months.

For the past two months, the four winter interns were working on conducting their Winter Bird Censuses, which involves surveying five different plots around the field station. During these censuses, the interns identified and counted all birds on their respective plots. This is a great way for the interns to gain experience with another bird monitoring technique in addition to mist netting.

Though we did not have very many birds this month, we did have some exciting captures. We caught a color-banded Bewick’s Wren (Red Yellow/White Silver) that was originally banding in 2010 as an adult male (making it at least 6 years 7 months old!) and hadn’t been caught since 2013. The first Red-shafted Flicker of the winter season was caught this month. At one of our offsites, Pine Gulch, we caught our first Allen’s Hummingbird of the year! February is usually when the first Allen’s Hummingbird has been caught (see past blog entries here and here).

Young (second year) Song Sparrow. Colors are Green Green/White Silver. Photo by Tyler Winter

Adult male Red-shafted Flicker. Photo by Katie Temple

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 14 days (1533.50 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in February, we captured 6 new birds and recaptured 18 previously banded birds. A total of 24 birds of 11 species were caught this month. Approximately 2 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 20 new birds and recaptured 28 previously banded birds. A total of 48 birds of 15 species were caught over 8 banding days this month (359.94 net hours), an average of approximately 7 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin occurred on February 3 and February 10 with just 4 birds each day, and at our off-sites (our other West Marin banding sites) occurred on February 26 at Pine Gulch – on the Bolinas Lagoon Open Space Preserve – with 11 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Hermit Thrush (5), Song Sparrow (4), Fox Sparrow (4), Wrentit (2), and Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Song Sparrow (13), Fox Sparrow (6), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (5), Chestnut-backed Chickadee (4) and Bewick’s Wren (4).

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.