Sunday, August 18.  Think nothing happens at BBBO in the summer?  Think again!  In addition to supporting three MAPS stations in New York and one in Vermont, BBBO conducts a summer banding program as it continues to educate youth and adults at its main station on the shore of Lake Ontario.

After the official close of the spring season, we banded birds at the main station once every 5-7 days through the first week in July, for two full weeks in mid-July, and then again intermittently through mid-August.  Highlights included a male Hooded Warbler in breeding condition, some early migrants, and of course juvenile birds!

Male Hooded Warbler, 6/17/13

Male Hooded Warbler, 6/17/13.  This bird had a fully developed CP (cloacal protuberance).  While this doesn’t prove that Hooded Warblers are nesting in the area, it at least hints at the possibility.  Everyone keep your ears open next summer!

An early Tennessee Warbler, banded 7/29/13.  These tiny birds don't typically start arriving in our area until late August, and July records are rare.

An early Tennessee Warbler, banded 7/29/13. These tiny birds don’t typically start arriving in our area until late August, and July records are rare.

A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher banded 8/4/13.  The photo doesn't quite do justice to her greenish back and yellowish belly.  She arrived only two days past the record early fall date set in 2004.

A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher banded 8/4/13. The photo doesn’t quite do justice to her greenish back and yellowish belly. She arrived only two days past the record early fall date set in 2004.

A stub-tailed Northern Cardinal.  We try not to anthropomorphize and to keep a scientific attitude, but it was awfully hard with this cutie!

A stub-tailed Northern Cardinal. We try to keep a scientific attitude about the birds, but it was awfully hard with this cutie!

This summer brought a selection of birds – especially Cedar Waxwings –  with unusual features:

A Cedar Waxwing with  leucistic tail feathers

A Cedar Waxwing with leucistic tail feathers

An older male Cedar Waxwing with yellow spots on the primaries

An older male Cedar Waxwing with yellow spots on the primaries

This older male Cedar Waxwing had a cleft lower mandible.  He was beautiful otherwise (with a full complement of waxy tips) and clearly has survived many years with this malady.

This older male Cedar Waxwing had a cleft lower mandible. He was beautiful otherwise (with a full complement of waxy tips) and clearly has survived many years with this malady.

And of course, no summer would be complete without herps.  The snakes this season have seemed bigger than ever!

A Garter Snake enjoys the warmth as he basks amid the Catalpa leaves

A Garter Snake enjoys the warmth as he basks amid the Catalpa leaves

A recently hatched Snapping Turtle

A recently hatched Snapping Turtle

Our banding was not confined to our primary station and our MAPS sites.  The two summer interns assisted with Purple Martin monitoring and banding at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge on several occasions, and we also put on a banding demonstration in Canandaigua.  American Robins were a big hit, but I think the kids were most excited to see who was more skilled – a Cardinal at biting, or Emily at avoiding being bitten!

Emily bands a Northern Cardinal during a camp in Canandaigua.

Emily bands a Northern Cardinal during a camp in Canandaigua.

It may only be the middle of August, but fall is here as far as the birds are concerned.  Shorebirds and Yellow Warblers have been migrating for weeks, and we will shortly be seeing a wide variety of warblers, sparrows and thrushes rushing southward to their wintering grounds.  The intensive banding season has now begun, and we hope to see many of you at the station!