IT HAS BEGUN.
Last Friday was the first day of operation for WVWA’s MAPS station. I was so excited (and afraid my alarm wouldn’t go off…) that I’m pretty sure I didn’t even sleep! Hooray coffee! When we got to the preserve in the wee morning hours, the birds were already singing and on the move. The nets were opened at sunrise, and it wasn’t long before they started producing.
We banded for 6 hours, ending up with a total of 27 birds across 10 species.
Not bad, not bad at all.
Here are the totals for the day:
Aaaand Catbirds for the win. I was happy to see so many – they are one of the most straight-forward species to age.
Here are some photo highlights, taken by volunteer Kristy Morley, who is participating in the banding project in part to complete her certification with the PA Master Naturalist program (pretty awesome, right?):
This female Brown Thrasher was a pretty cool bird to get on the first net run. I hadn’t banded many of these before and so, like a good bander, I turned to Peter Pyle’s “Identification Guide to North American Birds.”
The Pyle Guide – aka, the bird bander’s bible – has an account of every North American species and a description of their molt strategies. If you’re curious, here’s a couple excerpts from the Brown Thrasher species account that I used to age this bird:
Molt – PB: HY partial (Jul-Sep), AHY complete (Jul-Aug); PA absent. The PBs occur on the summer ground. the 1st PB includes 2-9 inner gr covs and usually (in ~78% of birds) 1-3 terts, but no rects.
AHY/ASY (Aug-Jul): Wing covs and terts uniformly adult, the gr covs deep rufous at the base (beware of a psuedolimit among the outer covs); the terts tipped whitish (fall) and relatively fresh (spring); outer ppcovs broad, truncate, relatively fresh, and rufous-dusky to uniformly deep rufous; outer rects truncate and relatively fresh; iris yellow to yellowish orange.
So after translation into coherent English, all of that indicated that it was an ASY bird.
Ok back to pictures.
Even though it got a bit windy toward the end of the day (always fun when data sheets are scattered far and wide… ha), we were able to stay open until closing time. As far as first days at new banding stations go, it went pretty fantastic.
Many, many thanks to Marcela, Kristy, and Andy for helping out! 🙂
We’ll be out banding again soon, so stay tuned for another post sometime next week.