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, November 2015

This summary was compiled by Palomarin banding interns Tyler Winter and Kate Maley with help from Mark Dettling, Banding Supervisor.

Exciting Captures and Observations:

November marked yet another changing of the banding seasons, from fall to winter banding, and with it a changing of the guard at Palo.  The fall banding interns stuck around the station long enough to help train the winter interns, before completing their own winter migrations.  We also switched over to the winter banding schedule at Palomarin (Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday) after Thanksgiving.

While our nets were most often filled with the usual suspects (e.g., Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes, and Fox Sparrows), we did have several particularly exciting captures throughout the month.  First, we caught a Varied Thrush, the first of the season!  These birds’ orange and dark blue-gray plumage make them a striking bird in the hand, but actually provides them with good camouflage in the shadowy understory of the mixed forests they call home.

First Varied Thrush of the season caught at Palo Photo by Hannah Conley

One of our most exciting recaptures was of the infamous RBG/S!  This 13.5 year-old Wrentit (with color bands red, blue, green/silver or RBG/S) was banded as a nestling in 2002 and has proven to be very elusive since.  This was only the second time she had been caught in the Palomarin nets!  (You can read more about this sneaky Wrentit and her first capture here.)

Another exciting recapture was another geolocator-tagged Fox Sparrow!  Like the one caught in October, this bird was recaptured at our Pine Gulch banding site in the Bolinas Lagoon Open Space Preserve.  We’ll keep you updated as we recapture more of these birds!

Hatch Year White-throated Sparrow caught at Muddy Hollow Photo by Hannah Conley

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 25 days (2685.87 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in April, we captured 91 new birds and recaptured 55 previously banded birds. A total of 146 birds of 24 species were caught this month. Approximately 5.84 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 131 new birds and recaptured 102 previously banded birds. A total of 233 birds of 24 species were caught over 10 banding days this month (563.33 net hours), an average of approximately 23.3 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites, respectively, were on November 19th at Palomarin with 11 birds and November 30th Pine Gulch with 41 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Ruby crowned Kinglet (48), Hermit Thrush (28), Wrentit (14), Fox Sparrow (9), and Sharp–shinned Hawk (6).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Ruby crowned Kinglet (63), Hermit Thrush (37), Song Sparrow (29), Fox Sparrows (28), Wrentit (20), and Bewick’s Wren (11).

After Hatch Year Male Townsend’s  Warbler caught at Pine Gulch Photo by Tyler Winter

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.