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Point Blue Conservation Science: Palo’s Monthly Banding Summary, March 2017

This summary was compiled by Point Blue’s Palomarin banding interns Meredith Heather 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:

After a slow February, capture rates started to pick up in March. Along with more birds, we got four new banding interns and three new nest searching interns and banding responsibilities began to change hands from the winter interns to the spring/summer interns. The new interns enjoyed a few days of birding around Marin County, learning to identify new species and getting to know the area. A rare Black-and-White Warbler was seen on the Five Brooks trail, a new bird for many of the interns. Spring migration picked up and brought new species to the area for the year. The first Rufous Hummingbirds, Wilson’s Warblers and Pacific-slope Flycatchers were confirmed at Palomarin for the season. A Northern Mockingbird was also spotted at Palomarin, which is rare for the field station.

The first material carries and nests of the season were found. Bushtits were seen carrying nest material and later in March a Bushtit nest was found around Palomarin. The Pacific Wrens started building their nest in one of the old Barn Swallow nests on the side of the Palomarin house. The pair had one successful brood there last season, so hopefully they can be successful again this season.

The Wilson’s Warblers seemed to show up all at once. Within just a few days in late March, Wilson’s Warblers were heard singing at Palo and being caught in nets both at Palo and offsite locations. These small, bright yellow birds with distinct black caps can be difficult to find, when looking up in the canopy, as they blend in with the undersides of leaves silhouetted against the sky.

By the end of March, all but one of the winter interns had left Palomarin and the new spring/summer interns had settled into Palomarin life for the season.

Wilson’s Warbler captured at Muddy Hollow. Photo by Nick Liadis
Wilson’s Warbler captured at Muddy Hollow. Photo by Nick Liadis
Female Allen’s Hummingbird captured at Pine Gulch. Photo by Meredith Heather
Female Allen’s Hummingbird captured at Pine Gulch. Photo by Meredith Heather

Let’s Do the Numbers:

In 16 days (1,674.9 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in March, we captured 16 new birds and recaptured 26 previously banded birds. A total of 42 birds of 16 species were caught. Approximately 3 birds were caught per banding day.

At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 55 new birds and recaptured 46 previously banded birds. A total of 101 birds of 22 species were caught over 11 banding days in March (508.59 net hours), an average of approximately 11 birds per day.

The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on March 8th and 29th at Palomarin with 5 birds and March 22nd at Pine Gulch (Marin County Open Space District) with 19 birds.

At Palomarin the highest numbers were captured for the following species: Oregon Junco (9), Anna’s Hummingbird (6), Pacific Wren (5), Chestnut-backed Chickadee (3), and Allen’s Hummingbird (3).

Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Song Sparrow (21), Tree Swallow (10), Hermit Thrush (9), Common Yellowthroat (6), Fox Sparrow (5), Golden-crowned Sparrow (5), and Bewick’s Wren (5).

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.