Friday April 24, 2020:  17 new birds of 9 species; 37 recaps.  New species:  House Wren, Brown Thrasher, and Slate-colored Junco.  Bird of the day was Ruby-crowned Kinglet with six new bands, but American Robin made a valiant try and ended up with four new bands.

The story continues to be all about recaptured kinglets!  We are getting new birds here and there, but far and away we are kept busiest extracting kinglets that have been banded in previous days.  We are starting to recognize a few of them . . . #799 and #800 in particular seem determined to try out every net in the vicinity.  We first banded RCKI #799 on April 20th.  We didn’t see him on the 21st or 22nd (we were closed), but we recaptured him three times on the 23rd and two times on the 24th.  The first capture of each day, we bring him to the building for a quick re-assessment and weigh-in, but otherwise he is released at the net.

One neat capture today was our first Brown Thrasher of the season.  These birds are part of the mimic family, along with Northern Mockingbirds and Gray Catbirds.  Mockingbirds are the best mimics of the three, and they tend to repeat themselves in sets of four.  So, you might hear one say “beep beep beep beep . . . cheerily cheerily cheerily cheerily . . . witchy witchy witchy witchy.”  Mockingbirds are such good mimics that it’s easy to be fooled into thinking you are hearing another bird, and it can be fun to keep a list of all the songs you’ve heard a mockingbird sing. Thrashers tend to repeat themselves in sets of two, and their mimicry is not quite as good as that of the mockingbird.  Catbirds really just sort of chortle, and it’s a bit of a stretch to call it mimicry . . . except for their cat’s miaow!  We catch hundreds of catbirds and handfuls of thrashers, but mockingbirds are rare for us at the station.

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-Andrea Patterson