Monday July 8, 2013

This year marks the fifth year that the MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) program has run. It is the first year that one of the nets was not up for a session because it would have been set up in 5 inches of standing water. The lane has since drained to a soft mud consistency and all eight nets are being used.

When out making rounds to put up nets, I have been startled by as many as 3 deer bolting from their night resting places. On a separate occasion, another went through a net and destroyed it. On a third occasion, one was so startled it jumped into the lake for a swim to get away.

But, to get back to the birds I monitor. The number of newly banded birds to date is quite the same as last year, as are the number of recaptured birds. The largest number of newly banded are Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, catbirds, Song Sparrows and robins. Eastern Phoebes and Trail’s Flycatchers are being captured in larger numbers than previous years. For all the flocks of Cedar Waxwings we see looking down at us from the trees, only one has made it into a net. The number of recaptures are staying in the mid 20’s in total, as they did the year before. One of the Song Sparrows banded in 2009 has returned to net #3 for the past three years. Some species I recapture two years in a row and then don’t see them ever again. We have encountered 43 species this season. These are birds carrying nesting material, food,or fecal sacs or birds that are banded, singing or flying over. The nets capturing the most birds are the two nearest the lake and the two nearest the hedge rows along Manitou Beach Road.

The weather being so wet has caused a rapid growth of vegetation but surprisingly not a large mosquito population, yet! The crush of young birds is yet to come in the next three weeks, I hope. If not, the question will be, why not. Could it be birds start to remember where nets are from year to year and avoid them? After all, they have been born and raised in this area and many return to it the following year.  Marian Klik