If you thought BBBO hung up our bird bags for the summer, you’d be wrong!

As the summer temps heat up, we simmer down a bit at BBBO.  We move from banding daily to banding more sporadically.  Most of the birds are local, and we don’t want to keep catching them day after day, so we do some “spot checking” to see how the season is progressing.  The bird numbers and species diversity are relatively low, but summer is anything but dull!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were open just three days in June, but managed to pick up 35 birds of 21 species.  June 12 was characterized by late migrants – mostly young females – of several species including Ovenbird, Magnolia Warbler, Canada Warbler, Mourning Warbler, and Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.  June 16th and 17th saw a more typical mix of Gray Catbirds and Yellow Warblers.

 

IMG_1211Two days in early July saw only expected species, with one exception – a beautiful Morning Dove graced us on the 8th.  Usually these birds escape the nets with ease, as their roly-poly large bodies keep them from getting tangled.

Things ramped up a week later during our Teen Bander Training Camp.  Camp was held this year from July 16-20, and we were open every day (although we didn’t open all the nets). Three students – two of them local young birders – spent mornings in the field and afternoons learning about aging, molt, ethics, and setting up a station.

 

 

 

IMG_1275Most of the passerines moving through BBBO molt before before they migrate, but there are always a couple who go rogue and they migrate before they begin (or at least complete) their molt.  I told our teen banders that I expected one of these “molt migrants” to show up during class, and we weren’t disappointed!  We saw a very tattered Swainson’s Thrush on the 18th – the first of three to migrate through in July.  Molt migration is common in waterfowl and also in birds that inhabit arid environments.  While our July Swainson’s almost always appear in some stage of molt, those that move through later in the fall will have completed their molt before they arrive at BBBO.

 

IMG_1314July 22-25 saw four adult banders visit BBBO as part of the Advanced Molt Workshop we offer every summer.  Dawn and Rebecca were returning students from our fall 2017 class, and Vinnie and Sylvia came up from Ohio to get experience working with other trainers.  We had a FANTASTIC time – and I think everyone learned something (including the instructor!).  The rain tried to spoil our mornings, but we worked around it and banded in the afternoons if necessary.  We were keep busy with Gray Catbirds, Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats, but we were treated to a smattering of other species including our second molt migrant – a Tennessee Warbler.

 

 

We rounded out the summer with a few additional days at the end of July, in order to pick up the tail end of the Yellow Warbler migration.  In addition to dozens of sunny yellow birds, we got two nice surprises – an early Winter Wren, and adorably awkward juvenile birds – an Eastern Phoebe and a Cedar Waxwing.

 

 

We ended the summer season with 446 birds of 37 species, and 99 recaps.