Point Blue Conservation Science: Monthly Banding Summary, March 2020
May 31, 2020
This summary was compiled by Point Blue’s Palomarin banding interns Mary De Aquino, Mary Kate Lisi and Bernarda Vasquez 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.
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Exciting Captures and Observations:
March was an eventful month at the Palomarin Field Station. As banding interns Hannah Roodenrijs and Samantha Chavez entered their final month, four new banding interns began their training for the spring and summer seasons! The new banding interns are Brandon Dunnahoo from Texas, Mary Kate Lisi from New Jersey, Mary De Aquino from California, and Bernarda Vasquez all the way from Ecuador! In addition, three nest searching interns (known here at the field station as “gridders”), arrived at the station in mid-March. The gridders are Oliver Nguyen from Massachusetts, Evan Lipton from Rhode Island, and Sarah Stewart from South Carolina.
All interns spent the first month of their internship learning to identify the local species by sight and sound. While banding interns learned how to operate the mist-net stations, gridders began to familiarize themselves with their study plots or “grids” and locate study species and their territories. Palomarin’s study species are monitored closely, and gridders diligently track their territory boundaries and search for their nests. Our study species are Song Sparrow, Wrentit, Wilson’s Warbler, California Scrub-Jay, Spotted Towhee, White-crowned Sparrow, and Swainson’s Thrush. Some of the individuals of these species are banded with a combination of brightly colored bands (in addition to their 9 digit silver band) which aides the gridders in identifying individual birds in the field and tracking their movements.
Due to COVID-19, a shelter-in-place order was assigned to Marin County in mid-March, limiting our work to the Palomarin Field Station and nearby offsite, Palomarin Grid Uppers. Despite only working at Palo, there were several exciting captures at the field station with spring and summer migrants arriving in the area! Orange-crowned Warblers arrived earlier in the month, with Wilson’s Warblers arriving a few weeks later. Other exciting captures included Rufous Hummingbirds, Hermit Thrushes, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a Downy Woodpecker.
The Allen’s Hummingbird nest that was found along the net trail last month was successful! From the trail we were able to see 2 nestlings in the nest. After a week or so, we did not notice any more activity and we believe the nestlings have fledged.
We also began to see our first fledglings of the year with several Allen’s Hummingbirds. Gridders began to locate territories and nests, and we expect to band plenty of nestlings in the next few weeks!
Let’s Do the Numbers:
In 19 days (1719.74 net hours) of mist-netting at Palomarin in March, we captured 32 new birds and recaptured 41 previously banded birds. A total of 73 birds of 21 species were caught. Approximately 5 birds were caught per banding day.
At our other West Marin banding sites, we captured 62 new birds and recaptured 52 previously banded birds. A total of 114 birds of 21 species were caught over 8 banding days in April (396.83 net hours), an average of approximately 19 birds per day.
The highest capture rates at Palomarin and our other West Marin banding sites were on March 31st at Palomarin with 11 birds, and March 6th and 12th at Muddy Hollow, tied with 27 birds each.
At Palomarin, the following species were caught in the highest numbers: Orange-crowned Warbler (11), Oregon Junco (10), Pacific Wren (8), Song Sparrow (5), and Anna’s Hummingbird (5).
Across all off-sites, the highest numbers of captures by species were: Song Sparrow (23), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (20), Wrentit (9), Fox Sparrow (9), and Hermit Thrush (6).
About these Summaries:
Point Blue interns and staff at our Palomarin Field Station share these blog posts in an effort to further engage the public in our science. We are grateful to our partners at the Point Reyes National Seashore and to our surrounding Bolinas and West Marin County community for their support of our work.