Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hawk Ridge Banding Report for October 11-20, 2014

Passerine Banding Report

We usually set the end of the passerine banding operation at the Hawk Ridge banding research station for October 15th as the official closing date. We sometimes try a few additional days to see if there are still birds, but this year the October 15 closing date was pretty much spot on for the end of the season. There really has been little migration traffic since the 15th. 

During the period between October 11 to Oct. 20th, 51 birds were banded in six sessions. The Ruby-crowned Kinglets still are the most frequent birds caught with 12 banded. We had been waiting for the latest of the late season migrants - the American Tree Sparrows. The first arrived on Oct. 13th and we banded a total of 9. We expected a larger run of later season migrants,  like Dark-eyed Juncos and Fox Sparrows, but didn't get it; no Fox Sparrows were banded after the 6th of October, though we did band 7 juncos. 

So the big numbers have either sneaked on past or have not yet made a major move. October 13 was the last day we caught any warblers, we had 1 Orange-crowned Warbler and 1 Nashville Warbler that day. We caught 3 more Brown Creepers, 3 more Golden-crowned Kinglets, 7 White-throated Sparrows, 3 Black-capped Chickadees, 1 Downy and 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 1 Swamp Sparrow and 1 American Robin. We are done banding at the research station, but will still look for those late migrants.

Songbird Banding Education
We banded on Oct. 12 and 19th near the Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve main overlook. Oct. 12 was very windy all day, so no mist nets were set, but 4 birds were banded using feeder traps. 3 White-throated Sparrows and 1 Slate-colored Junco were banded. October 19th permitted the use of mist nets and feeder traps. The day belonged to the Black-capped Chickadees with 8 new chickadees banded and 10 previously banded chickadees recaptured. One last Ruby-crowned Kinglet was banded early in the morning. A total of 14 new birds were banded during October 11-20th near the Hawk Ridge main overlook.
Margie at the Hawk Ridge overlook (Karen Stubenvoll)

Report by Margie Menzies, Naturalist/Songbird Bander

Owl Banding Report

Owls were certainly on the move during this period, although conditions were less then favorable for migration. A total of 366 Saw-whet Owls were captured during the period with a peak night on the 14th when 126 Saw-whet Owls were captured. To date we have also captured 61 previously banded Saw-whets. About 54% of the Saw-whets have been hatch-year thus far this season.
Only 4 Long-eared Owls and 3 Barred Owls were banded during this period. Large owls are still to come and were hoping this poor weather pattern of easterly winds will turn more westerly and get the bigger owls on the move.

Saw-whet Owl with retained juvenile body plumage (Madison McConnell)

Saw-whet Owl being banded (Madison McConnell)
Saw-whet before release (Chris Neri)
Report by Madison McConnell, Owl Bander

Hawk Banding Report

The hawk flight has been steady during the period, however flights have been mostly high or lakeside and thus bird have been less catchable than expected for this time of year. Highlights were 2 Bald Eagles banded on the 12th at Moose Valley, an adult and a hatch year. A total 105 hawks were banded during the period and included the following: Bald Eagle-2, Northern Harrier-1, Sharp-shinned Hawk-73, Northern Goshawk-10, Red-tailed Hawk-14, American Kestrel-2 and Merlin-3.
Adult Bald Eagle (Chris Neri)

Hatch-year goshawk with a crop (Chris Neri)
Report by Frank Nicoletti, Banding Director

Updates on Satellite Tracking

The Turkey Vulture that was tagged and transmitter placed on in early August in West Duluth is really moving now. It’s last location was 27.97717, -97.81233, approximately 28 mi. NW of Corpus Christi, TX. Tracking this Turkey Vulture is part of the Turkey Vulture Migration Project of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in cooperation with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory.

Jack, the adult male golden eagle that was trapped and fitted with a satellite telemetry unit at Hawk Ridge in November of 2012, is still hanging around his breeding area in the Northwest Territories of Canada north of the Great Slave Lake. In the past 2 years he has shown up in Minnesota in mid to late November, so we would expect him to begin his movements south pretty soon.

Tracking Jack is part of the Golden Eagle Tracking project of Audubon Minnesota & The National Eagle Center in cooperation with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory & the Minnesota DNR Nongame Program.

Frank Nicoletti
Hawk Ridge Banding Director

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