Spring Migration Update

The second week of CHIP spring migration monitoring 2013 has been full of weather activity.  High winds and rain have been bringing new arrivals and keeping many migrants in the park. With temperatures staying cool after thunderstorms at the station, many new species, both local and migrants, have been spotted enjoying the habitat along the lakeshore. The busiest day for migration was May 25th when 68 birds were banded of 22 species! Many breeding locals have been seen assembling nests, displaying breeding interest, and the first gosling at the station was seen, revealing more juveniles on the way!

Splashes of color have been common in and around the station, as the numbers of Baltimore Orioles, Western Tanagers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Wilson’s Warblers, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers continue to arrive in the park. This pair of Baltimore Orioles is easily identified by their bright plumage and musical calls, even in the hand.

Baltimore Orioles (photo: Cyndi Smith)

Baltimore Orioles (photo: Cyndi Smith)

Blackpoll Warblers have been captured at a record high this spring at the station, with 20 banded on May 25! These birds are not our most common warbler species, and it was a nice surprise to see so many passing through, likely due to the poor weather. Besides their distinct plumage, Blackpolls are easily identified by their bright yellow legs and feet.

Blackpoll Warblers (photo: Cyndi Smith)

Blackpoll Warblers (photo: Cyndi Smith)

This week brought the arrival of the resident Common Yellowthroats to the park and we have already caught quite a large collection of both sexes. These warblers are abundant at the station, as they favor the emergent around marshes. They are easily identified by their chatty calls.

Common Yellowthroat (photo: Cyndi Smith)

Common Yellowthroat (photo: Colton Prins)

An interesting surprise this week was the capture of a female American Crow! As common as they are they don’t often get captured as teh mist nets are designed for passerines robin-sized and smaller.  It was a rare treat to hold such a powerful Corvid in the hand, and band her too!

American Crow (photo: Cyndi Smith)

American Crow (photo: Colton Prins)

With Red-winged Blackbirds abundant around the station, catching them is no difficult task. Aging these birds is straight forward when viewing the underwing coverts. As seen below, a stark contrast can be observed between the adult blackish feathers and the formative brownish feathers, thus revealing this to be a second year male.

Red-winged Blackbird (photo: Cyndi Smith)

Red-winged Blackbird (photo: Cyndi Smith)

Finally, this week’s quiz bird… What species is this? (Hint?**It does not even breed in it’s namesake state*) . The first person to answer correctly wins a High-Five –  yes High-Fives are cool again.

Spring Quiz Bird #2

Spring Quiz Bird #2 (photo: Cyndi Smith)

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