Tuesday September 1, 2015:  46 new birds of 15 species; 9 recaps.  New species:  Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Bird of the day was Red-eyed Vireo with 10 new bands, followed by Magnolia Warbler with 9.

No . . . this isn’t referring to bleary-eyed banders who stumble into work after a night of carousing!  It’s referring to the should-be-straightforward-but-are-somehow-confusing Red-eyed Vireos!  When Red-eyed Vireos are young, they have brown eyes that change color over the course of the first fall.  At this time of year, we should be able to be fairly confident that REVIs with red eyes are grown ups . . . but some of our babies have already changed their eye color!  Furthermore, we should be able to tell the difference in age based on the development of their skulls, but we were seeing young birds that were well more than half-way done with their development as well as older birds that have not yet quite finished.  How can we tell the difference?  It’s all in the pattern of the developed skull, but that’s not always easy to see through thick or dark skin, or when new feathers are growing in.

Otherwise, the day was rather pleasant with a soft breeze and temperatures that were much more moderate than anticipated.  Nancy continued to practice net-picking, and a new student (Maddie, from Hobart and Willliam Smith Colleges) started learning today as well.  Meanwhile, Julia continued perfecting her banding skills, Chelsea tested several birds in the MARS trailer, and Greg collected a few blood samples for his study on telomere length in birds.  Surprise birds included the first (and perhaps only) Red-breasted Nuthatch of the season and a late Yellow Warbler.

Thanks much to everyone who helped out today!