August 5th, 2014 marked the first day of Fall Migration Monitoring. The first month of banding provided us with some very interesting bird species and quite good diversity. As is expected, most of the birds caught have been hatch year birds.
One of the favorite species caught reliably during fall migration are Belted Kingfishers. This species routinely get caught in our nets closest to the lake as they fish and move along the shoreline. The previous record for Belted Kingfishers was 5 in 2013– by the end of August we doubled that record in 2015. Most of the kingfishers we catch are hatch year birds that already know how to deliver a strong bite!
Some of the highlights during the first part of fall migration included: Eastern Kingbird, Blue-headed Vireo, Black-headed Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. However a couple species were caught that deserve a bit more information.
Eastern Kingbird, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue-headed Vireo, and Red-breasted Nuthatch (Photos: Kim Wetten)
On August 25th we had a good day with 60 new birds and 7 recaptures but it was the wood-warbler diversity that really stood out. That day we caught 8 species of warblers including: Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush, Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, and an unexpected Canada Warbler. The hatch year male Canada Warbler was definitely a treat. These birds are rarely seen migrant in Cypress Hills stopping over between their breeding grounds in northern Alberta and their wintering grounds in South America.
Canada Warbler and Black-and-white Warbler (Photos: Kim Wetten)
On August 26th we had a relatively slow day with about 21 birds but one bird helped make the day memorable. A beautiful hatch year light-morph Broad-winged Hawk was spotted by some visitors in the bottom trammel of net #2. After sprinting to the net, it was found calmly laying in the net with its wings spread and talons up in the air. After an easy extraction, it was banded with a lock-on band. This is a special type of band used for birds with strong bills that can open a normal band. Hawks are rarely caught in the our nets since the mesh size is designed for songbirds. This is the first time this species has been caught at CHIP during fall migration.
Broad-winged Hawk!!! (Photos:Kim Wetten)
The second half of FMM was pretty exciting! Stay tuned for an update.