Thursday April 18, 2013.  173 new birds of 12 species, 27 recaps.  No new species.

Well, I’ll say it if no one else will.  One Black-capped Chickadee is adorable.  Ten Black-capped Chickadees are cute.  One hundred Black-capped Chickadees are a pain in the cuticles, and today we banded 114!  Technically, chickadees don’t migrate, but in many years there are large movements – or irruptions –  of primarily young birds. We were expecting an irruption last fall at BBBO, but it never materialized.  Perhaps we quit too early in the season to catch it, but we certainly seem to be seeing the irruption in reverse this spring.  To put this in perspective consider the numbers from the last 10 years. Today, we banded more chickadees than we did in the springs of 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2012.  In fact, we almost banded more today than in all those springs combined (114 v. 123).  In spring 2008 we banded 192, and in spring 2006 we banded 1014, both of which exceeded today’s count.  I don’t have data for 2010 and 2011.

After all that, I should put a photo of a chickadee on the web, but I’ve also been interested in how many partly leucistic birds we have been seeing.  Today we had the American Robin below, as well as a Black-capped Chickadee with three white tail feathers.  We’ve seen other “pied” birds this week as well.

A partly leucistic (or, as Luke Tiller says, "pigmentally challenged") American Robin

A partly leucistic (or, as Luke Tiller says, “pigmentally challenged”) American Robin

This day cannot end without a hearty and sincere thanks to a most excellent crew.  The 8-person crew consisted of a couple of veterans, a few returning or novice banders, and two first-time volunteers.  Rosemary and Pat were thrown into the deep end of the Chickadee pool today, and neither one sank!  Rosemary scribed for 7 hours without a break, and Pat learned net-picking on one of the most tricky birds.  Katie, one of our student researchers, banded an amazing 62 birds and 9 recaptures (not bad for a fairly new bander!), and Mike picked chickadees from nets like an old pro.  Rick returned after being away for more than a season, and quickly got his “bird fingers” back.   Jesse returned from Nevada, and finally got to pick his banding number (#38!).  Gayle worked hard as always, and provided a welcome island of calm and common sense as well.  Thanks to all!  Andrea Patterson