Happy Traill’s to You

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Wednesday May 31, 2017.  We had a good day today. The weather was fine and it only sprinkled rain on us for a couple minutes. It was not super busy, but birds were brought in at every net check.

Everyone enjoyed the sweet song of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak all morning, but he did not make an appearance in the nets. We had a total of 79 new birds banded of 17 species. There were 15 recaps. Bird of the day was Traill’s Flycatcher with 21 banded. Wilsons Warbler came it at a close second, with 18 banded.

Cindy Marino, BIC

Ladies Day!

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Tuesday May 30, 2017:  197 new birds of 30 species, 23 recaps.  No new species.  Bird of the day was Traill’s Flycatcher with 35 new bands, followed by Magnolia Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler, each with 21 new bands.  A quick rainstorm prompted us to close the nets for a half hour mid-morning, but the rest of the day was pleasant and dry, especially after the rain knocked down the early morning humidity.

It was ladies day at BBBO, as the overwhelming majority of our birds were female (at least of the birds that show a sexually dimorphic plumage difference!), and most were younger.  In many species, older males migrate first and younger females last, so even though we are still seeing high numbers and good species diversity, migration is nearing its tail end.

We are seeing increasing numbers of birds with brood patches (especially in grackles, robins, and Song Sparrows), but no fledgies yet!  We usually get a young grackle before the end of the season . . . perhaps tomorrow.


Female Red-winged Blackbird, originally banded May 11, 2014 as an after-second year bird (putting her hatch date at 2012 or before), and recaptured today.

Monday May 29, 2017

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It was rather a broken up day. Lots of rain. It was raining when we all arrived but the weather report showed a break in about an hour. So we visited for an hour and got the nets up at 6.30 am. We went out at 7:00 am and could not believe our eyes. There were a variety of birds in almost every net, sometimes as many as 11 in one net. Trying to get them all out brought on the next run and the rain again. In that one hour we picked up 87 new birds, 29 different species and only one recap. Of the new birds, Traill’s flycatchers, made up the largest amount followed by Magnolia warblers, and Wilson’s warblers.

We waited until 11 am for the rain to break while we finished banding all the birds. Rain slowed down but never completely stopped so we gave up for the day. I would venture a guess that 87 birds in one hour is a good record. In the rain, Mike gave us lessons in bird calls. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Blackpoll were singing at full voice for us the hear and learn their songs. Sad to see the season come to a close but the MAPS program may give us some summer pleasure.

Marian Klik BIC

Golden-winged Warbler !

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017 104 new birds of 26 species; 12 recaps.  New species Golden-winged Warbler.

It was a good morning of late season banding. A steady but not overwhelming flow of birds for the whole time.
Flycatcher season has definitely begun, as we banded quite a few Traill’s Flycatchers, as well as a couple Least Flycatchers and a Yellow-bellied as well.  Other birds included good numbers of Magnolia, American Redstart and Yellow Warblers. Mourning Warbler and a female Golden Winged Warbler were special treats!
Two homeschooling families paid us a visit and it was great to see their enthusiasm for both the birds and several snakes that they spotted.
Cindy Marino, BIC


One Perfect Saturday

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Saturday May 13, 2017.  136 new birds of 25 species; 10 recaps.  New species:  Wilson’s Warbler.  Bird of the day was Ruby-crowned Kinglet (!!!) with 47 new bands.

It wasn’t the sunniest day, and it was perhaps a bit on the cool side.  There was the lightest sprinkle of rain near the end of the morning, and the trails are still just this side of soggy.  But, as our friend Eala said . . . this was the best day ever!

Well, maybe not EVER, but it was a pretty perfect day.  The birds were plentiful and varied, with 12 species of warblers in addition to a handful of sparrows and thrushes (plus the much loved Blue-headed Vireo and Red-breasted Nuthatch).  A late junco put in an appearance, and the early Least Flycatchers are starting to trickle in.  Our research projects were in full swing . . . Dr. Sue Pagano sampled sparrows and thrushes for her nutritional physiology work, masters student Amanda Hill looked for ticks on some of our ground dwelling birds, and Andrea both collected tail feathers for Dr. Kristen Covino’s migratory connectivity study and looked at the extent of the pre-formative molt in a half-dozen species for a collaborative project of her own.

So what made the morning shine?  It was just an easy day!  The birds were steady enough to keep us busy, but we still had plenty of time to really study them closely.  We were able to compare birds of different ages and sexes and talk about our conclusions.  There were no tricky birds in the nets, and the net runs were pleasant as we were treated to birdsong all morning long.  We recaptured a Yellow Warbler in its 7th year, and to top it off, we received word that an Ovenbird we recaptured last spring had originally been banded in North Carolina the fall before!


Most Handsome Yellow Warbler ever!

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Wednesday May 11, 2017. Sunrise is getting pretty early but when the banding
started the sun was out and it stayed out all day, and all were smiling. 
We did however have to still wear several layers to keep warm. 
So for the birds, there were more birds then people which is always a good 
thing. We ended the day with 44 new birds and 22 Recaptured birds. 

Ruby crowned Kinglets and Chickadees were the most popular and we had one
of the most beautiful Yellow Warblers I have ever seen. New for the season
was a Chipping Sparrow. A sunny day is always a good day.
Peggy Keller, Bander-in-charge.
Photo by Peggy Keller

Red-Start your Engines!

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Tuesday May 9, 2017:  63 new birds of 17 species, 22 recaps.  New species:  American Redstart and Eastern White-crowned Sparrow.  Bird of the day is still Ruby-crowned Kinglet, with 31 new bands..

The muddy trails are slowly drying, and the sun put in an appearance mid-morning.  Overall, things are looking up and the birds agree!  We saw 7 species of warbler, including Ovenbird, Black-and-White, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow, Black-throated Blue, and Yellow-rumped.  We’re still waiting for the warblers in big numbers, but every one we see is a welcome promise of things to come.  Stay tuned . . . they’re on their way!


A Soggy Weekend for SFO

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Cornell’s Spring Field Ornithology class visited BBBO on May 6-7.  As the weekend drew near, the forecast was looking grim with upwards of 80% chance of rain, high winds, and even possible snow.  While we weren’t able to be fully open during our normal 6-hour operating protocol, there were enough breaks in the weather that all the Cornell students got to see some fantastic birds in hand.  We were challenged as much by the soggy paths (some of which were ankle deep in water) as by the weather, but the class had been warned and came well prepared with muck boots in tow.

Saturday May 6:  26 new birds of 8 species, 11 recaps.  New species:  Ovenbird.  Bird of the day was Ruby-crowned Kinglet with 16 new bands.  The weather was certainly dreary, and we waited a half hour to open in the morning.  We were able to stay open for 4 hours until increasing humidity forced us to close as the mist was beading up on the nets.  Three groups of students came through the station, and each group was treated to something special . . . the first Ovenbird of the season, a Black-throated Blue Warbler, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler were highlights.

Sunday May 7:  25 new birds of 9 species; 21 recaps.  Bird of the day was Ruby-crowned Kinglet with 12 new bands.  Morning rain kept us closed for two hours, but we were texting the SFO trip leaders who decided to dawdle on the way up from Ithaca . . . a good choice as it turned out, as they had productive stops along the lakeshore before arriving at our station.  While they were here, the students saw Black-throated Blue, Western Palm, and Yellow-rumped Warblers as well as a couple of chatty Blue Jays.  We were excited to see Lisa Podulka (who was back from her first year of college) and her family leading one of the groups.  It’s great to catch up with our banding friends, but nothing makes us feel older than seeing our young banders turn into adults before our eyes!

May 8, 2017 First Rose-breasted Grosbeak of the Spring! Seventy-one New Birds and 43 Recaptures.

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There was a big hurray cheer when the sun showed up for the first 
time in many dark, wet days at the station.  You could just feel the 
trails drying up for a couple to hours.  The Marsh Marigolds love this 
weather.  Note (Fig. 1) how they skipped over the trail to take hold in 
new places.   

The majority of the new birds were Ruby-crowned Kinglets (25), Blue jays (12) and 
and Myrtle Warblers (11).  A new species for the season made its appearance, 
a Rose-breasted Grosbeak female.  An unusual capture of a Ruby-crowned 
Kinglet was made that had a yellow crown.  

The weather is slowly improving so if the winds blow out of the south, look
out, here they come.
Marian Klik - Bander-in-charge.



Monday May 1, 2017  The trails are all water soaked and mud caked. For those of us 
wearing hiking boots, the mud and water made it over the top of our boot to 
soak our feet. There literally was a small creek of running water 
between nets 1 and 2.  The parking lot was a small swimming pool.   

The winds were out of the south at 6 am so all the nets got put up and hopes 
were high.  We were not disappointed.   One net held as many as 30 birds of 
various species.    By 9 am, it was pouring rain, so all the nets came 
down.  BUT, we ended up with  125 new birds of which Ruby-crowned Kinglets 
(44) and Myrtle warblers (36) made up the majority.  Six new species for 
the season showed up: Wood Thrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellow- 
throat, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler and Black-throated Green 
Warbler.  Not bad for the nets being open only three hours.  With winds 
predicted out of the south and southwest tomorrow, it may be another 
good day.

Marian Klik, BIC