Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hawk Ridge August Banding Report 2014

It's been a busy month working on banding projects, but the work has payed off.  The stations are ready to go, nets were repaired, blinds reworked and banding equipment checked. We are catching and banding hawks and passerines.

 We completed two new projects that I've wanted to do for some time now. In late July, Josh Yokel and I installed 16 American Kestrel boxes up in the Sax-Zim Bog. We have another 10 or so to put up in early winter. This is a joint effort between Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory and Friends of Sax-Zim Bog.
Josh installing a box (image by Frank Nicoletti)
David Barber, a researcher from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and I captured an adult Turkey Vulture and placed a wing tag and satellite transmitter. This is the first one in the Midwest to be fitted with a tag or transmitter. The data already collected has given us information on roost locations, hourly and daily movement. The bird was tested for lead and the reading came up low. We look forward to following it's migration path, winter and breeding home range. This was a joint effort between Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.
Turkey Vulture with tag and transmitter (image by Miranda Durbin)

Hawk Ridge Passerine Banding Report by David Alexander

Passerine banding at the main station in 2014 has been a welcome relief from 2013. We banded 682 passerines this August as compared to only 407 in 2013. There has definitely been an improvement in productivity of young, this year. Most species are at or better numbers than last year. So far, we seem to be down on thrushes, but the major migration time is still to come. If the weather cooperates, we should have several days of over a hundred birds banded in the next week or two.

The numbers breakdown so far for 2014:
            682 birds banded in 13 days of coverage
            30 species total
            18 species of warbler
            Most numerous bird is Nashville Warbler with 176 birds banded
            Busiest day so far was 8/26 with 116 birds banded

The most unusual bird so far was a hatch year Sora banded on 8/26. This is the first rail banded in recent history and was quite a surprise for the banding crew on Tuesday morning.  We have many returning volunteers this year, and Margie Menzies and I hope to staff at least 5 days a week through the end of September. We look forward to updating you on the exciting things happening with passerine banding at Hawk Ridge.
            -- David Alexander

Hatch-year Sora Rail (image by Miranda Durbin)

Hawk Ridge Raptor Banding Report by Frank Nicoletti

Hawk banding started on the 13th August this season with the passage of a cold front. Two Red-tailed Hawks and two Merlin were captured on that day. Unfortunately, migration afterward slowed with persistent easterly winds and days of fog and precipitation. The month ended with 47 raptors which included: Northern Harrier-4, Sharp-shinned Hawk-30, Cooper's Hawk-4, Northern Goshawk-1, Broad-winged Hawk-2, Red-tailed Hawk-3, Merlin-6 and certainly the highlight was a  Prairie Falcon banded on the 26th . It was seen by Karl Bardon and called to us at the station. It was an hatch-year female. It represents the first banded in Hawk Ridge's long banding history. 
Kaitlin Alford holding her first Sharp-shinned Hawk (image by Karen Stubenvoll)
This season we have our first traineeship program. Kaitlin Alford from the state of Virginia arrived in late August and will be with us through the fall. Along with Kaitlin, Chris Neri and Nova Mackentley are our returning raptor banders and will operate the two other stations, Moose Valley and Paine Farm.

Prairie Falcon (image by Kate Nicoletti) 

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped with set-up and at the station throughout the year!
Report by Frank Nicoletti, Banding Director

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