Weekly Update: May 23 - 30

Male Magnolia Warbler by Brett Tryon

The rain and wind put a damper on banding this week, but we have had some productive days. We are catching more of our Boreal breeding birds, with waves of Swainson’s Thrushes, Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Mourning Warblers, Magnolia Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, Wilson’s Warblers and Blackpoll warblers. Blackpolls, the renowned marathon migrants, are putting on fat at an incredible pace. Some have been weighing in over 19 grams, close to doubling their body weight with fat. Like many of our migrants, they have been sticking around for several days to gorge on insects, demonstrating the importance of TTP as a stopover habitat.

For days Cedar Waxwings have been in the area, their high-pitched whine often the only sign of their presence. I longed to catch these beautiful birds, and finally my wish came true – one male and one female! Their plush, velvety plumage is unsurpassed, such regal birds with their black masks and crown. And yes, the waxy tips on their feathers really DO look like the pictures!

There are more and more American Robin nests being found all over TTP, and we have seen the first fledglings of the year. Some of the resident breeders we are catching have brood patches – bare, vascularised skin on their bellies for incubating eggs. That means our Song Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees and Red-winged Blackbirds have hatchlings on the way! We recently witnessed a male Common Yellowthroat giving an impressive broken-wing display, hopping along some low branches in a frantic attempt to draw our attention away from its nest.

We have another week of banding left for spring migration, so please drop by next weekend to watch banding up close.


Banding Totals

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 4

Traill’s Flycatcher 8

Eastern Kingbird 1

Gray-cheeked Thrush 10

Swainson’s Thrush 18

American Robin 2

Cedar Waxwing 2

Gray Catbird 3

Philadelphia Vireo 1

Red-eyed Vireo 9

Yellow Warbler 10

Chestnut-sided Warbler 5

Magnolia Warbler 15

Black-throated Blue Warbler 2

Black-throated Green Warbler 2

Blackburnian Warbler 6

Blackpoll Warbler 21

Black-and-White Warbler 2

American Redstart 12

Northern Waterthrush 1

Ovenbird 2

Mourning Warbler 3

Common Yellowthroat 9

Wilson’s Warbler 15

Canada Warbler 6

Indigo Bunting 2

Song Sparrow 1

Lincoln’s Sparrow 3

White-crowned Sparrow 1

Red-winged Blackbird 5

Common Grackle 1

Baltimore Oriole 1

American Goldfinch 4