Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hawk Ridge Banding Report: October 21-31, 2014

Main Banding Station Passerine Season Summary

Another fall season at Hawk Ridge has come to a close. The main station is closed and the nets put away until next year. Thanks to all the volunteers who make passerine banding possible. Thanks especially to Margie Menzies who covered the majority of days this fall. We had many returning volunteers and several new faces. Everyone made progress this fall at learning and improving their banding skills.

From August 7th through October 20th, we ran for a total of 41 days. We banded 1879 birds at the main station and 126 birds at the overlook. 61 species were banded. We banded slightly fewer species this year, but had over 250 more birds banded. Importantly, we had many more young birds this year reflecting better productivity. Bird highlights included an Eastern Bluebird, 3 Pileated Woodpeckers in four days, and the odd bird of the year, a young Sora. Our most common birds banded were American Redstart and Nashville Warbler. There were some slow days, but we did have three days over 100 birds banded with the peak on September 2 with over 200 birds banded.

Thanks to the great volunteer crew who made it possible including David Alexander, Kaitlin Alford, Amber Burnette, Dave and Jan Conley, Erin Denny, Miranda Durbin, Grace Glick, Tom Hollenhorst, Margie Menzies, Rebecca Peak, Beth Ruark, Valerie Slocum,  Karen Stubenvoll, Robbie Tietge, and Abbie Valine. Thanks also to the hawk banders for bringing us the passerines caught in the raptor nets.

--David Alexander
Hatch-year Eastern Bluebird (Frank Nicoletti)
Hawk Ridge Overlook Passerine Season Summary

Bird banding at the overlook happened on 11 days this fall. A total of 126 birds were banded with 21 species represented. The overall theme was wind- mist nets were only able to be set for a few of these days, and then often only for the first hour or so of the day. Gray Catbird was a species caught only at the overlook. There were 7 species of warblers (Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Connecticut, Tennessee, Nashville, Myrtle and Western Palm), 3 species of sparrows (Slate-colored Juncos, White-throated and Fox), Ruby-crowned and Golden-Crowned Kinglets, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Red-eyed and Philadelphia Vireos, Swainson’s Thrushes, Cedar Waxwings, Black-capped Chickadees and a Brown Creeper. The most numerous birds were 36 White-throated Sparrows and 28 Black-capped Chickadees.

We recaptured 21 birds, including several up to three times. One White-throated-Sparrow recaptured 2 weeks later this year. There were 20 different recaptured Black-capped Chickadees; 9 of them were banded and recaptured this year at the overlook. Ten were Chickadees that were either recaptured from previous year’s overlook banding, or birds that were banded at the main station.

Many thanks to Myron and Holly Peterson for their sponsorship of Passerine Banding Education at the Overlook! Also thanks to the overlook passerine banding volunteers: Katie Brey, Brianna Borka, Deborah Faul, Valerie Slocum, Robbie Tietge, and Andy Witchger.

--Margie Menzies

Owl Banding Report 

The end of October brought snow flurries and high winds on the ridge, interspersed with a few calmer, more productive nights at the owl banding station.  As the number of migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls declines, we await the Long-eared Owl push.  The highest number of saw-whets came through on 29 October with a nightly total of 31, bringing the season total to 952 saw-whets to date.  Sixty-seven of these individuals have been foreign recoveries, banded at other stations or in years past.  Their re-capture at Hawk Ridge will provide more clues in piecing together the puzzle of saw-whet migration. 
Happy Owl-o-ween at the banding station!  This night brought good diversity in species and size: Northern Saw-whet Owl, Long-eared Owl, Barred Owl.

Out of the 803 saw-whets banded or recaptured in October, 55% were hatch year birds, migrating south for the first time; 17% were second year birds, 26% after second year, and 2% after hatch year or unknown age.  On Halloween night, a season record breaking saw-whet was banded, weighing over 120 grams, about 30 grams more than average!

                                                                       Biggest saw-whet of the season at 120.6 grams!

Early in the week, we banded a saw-whet with an anomaly in its flight feathers, sporting eleven primary flight feathers on each wing instead of the usual ten.  Mutations causing additional flight feathers are uncommonly documented in other raptors, but are not well understood in northern saw-whet owls. 

Saw-whet with an unusual mutation causing 11 primary flight feathers instead of the usual 10.  A closer look will also reveal multiple generations (ages) of flight feathers, indicating an after-second-year bird.

October 29th and 31st share the highest nightly totals for long-eareds, with 6 new individuals banded each night.  The combination of these two nights nearly doubled the season total for long-eareds to date, though we’re still awaiting the bulk of the long-eared push.  All of the long-eareds banded in the last week have been adults, altering the ratio of adults to hatch year birds: 60% adults to 40% hatch year.  Hopefully many more to come!
Long-eared Owl
--Madi McConnell, Owl Bander

Hawk Banding Report

The hawk banding was slower then expected for this period even with fairly decent flights. But most of the hawks were uncatchable do to their extreme height. However we started to see and band adult goshawks, and also getting some reponse from Rough-legged Hawks. A total of 106 hawks were banded during the period including: Northern Harrier-1, Sharp-shinned Hawk-40, Cooper's Hawk-2, Northern Goshawk-26, Red-tailed Hawk-31, Rough-legged Hawk-6. 

Rough-legged Hawk HY light morph (Chris Neri)

Rough-legged Hawk, HY dark morph (Chris Neri)

Northern Goshawk, ASY male (Chris Neri)

Northern Goshawk, ASY female (Frank Nicoletti)
Northern Shrike (Chris Neri)
The month total-884, and season totals (2,782) are as follows: Bald Eagle-6 (9), Northern Harrier-8 (38), Sharp-shinned Hawk-709 (2,387), Cooper's Hawk-13 (37), Northern Goshawk-58 (70), Broad-winged Hawk-0 (16), Red-shouldered Hawk-0 (1), Red-tailed Hawk-74 (93), Rough-legged Hawk-6 (6), American Kestrel-4 (31), Merlin-5 (85), Peregrine Falcon-1 (8), Prairie Falcon-0 (1).

Frank Nicoletti
Hawk Ridge Banding Director

Update on Satellite Tracking

The Turkey Vulture captured and fitted with a wing tag and satellite transmitter has now migrated to western Mexico about 18 miles from the Guatemala border where it has spent the past few days moving locally. Its unkown if it will travel further south or not. 
Both the adult male Golden Eagle (Jack) and Snowy Owl (Ramsey) should start to move south again and look forward to looking at thier movements.

1 comment:

  1. wow what great info: the pic with the 3 owls and their relative size is great!