So another banding season has come to a close, more with a whimper than a bang. The wind shut us down early yesterday, prevented me from doing owls last night, prevented us from banding at all this morning, and will prevent us from doing owls again tonight. However, losing the final 1.5 days to wind is a heck of a lot better than losing almost a week to flooding as happened in 2010 and 2011. As this will be the final blog post of 2012 and probably my last day at TLBO since being here at the opening in 2006, I figure I should make it an epic one.
This season overall was a great one, like all seasons at TLBO. We banded hundreds of birds, found three new species, banded 31 Northern Saw-whet Owls, had our first foreign recovery, and had several very interesting observations and banding records. This year we added Black-throated-gray Warbler, Blue Jay, and Long-billed Dowitcher to the station list. We banded several unusual birds including Swamp Sparrow, Blackpoll Warbler, two Magnolia Warblers, Boreal Chickadee, and Black-throated-gray Warbler. Unusual sightings included several Northern Shrike, our second Black-and-white Warbler ever, Golden Eagle, Peregrin Falcon, Solitary Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, Common Tern, Eurasian Collared Dove, and Blue Jay. Avery and I were both very surprised by the number of Northern Saw-whet Owls we captured in less than two weeks of trying, and this effort led to our first foreign recovery when RPBO in Victoria caught one of our banded owls.
Unfortunately this year followed the trend of 2011 and was our slowest year on record with just 1286 birds banded, 48 fewer than in 2011. This however was due to probably the nicest fall weather TLBO has witnessed in her history. This year we only lost one day to rain and one day to wind, resulting in our highest level of effort ever, despite the lack of captures. This could suggest population declines, but could also just suggest the nice weather led to easier times for the birds who could migrate at higher elevation or more leasurely so as not to rush into our nets. The latter might be supported by the fact that in previous years we always had a couple really busy days associated with poor weather and this year we had no really busy days because we had no poor weather.
Perhaps one reason the banded total was so low this year is that this was the worst year on record for the Lincoln’s Sparrow, which other than 2008 has always been our number one species caught, and even in 2008 we managed to catch over 200. Strangely, we see a lot of similarities between this year and 2008, as 2008 was actually a great year for Song Sparrows as was true this year. Also, the Northern Shrike, Boreal Chickadee, and Swamp Sparrow all made their first appearance since 2008.
This year we were also fortunate to have another excellent group of volunteers and visitors. Volunteers are always a vital part of what we do, especially for livening up a long season, where without them Avery and I would probably get bored with just eachother for companionship. This year we even had a number of volunteers capable of doing the most important part of our jobs for us, which is both excellent and concerning For our sakes it is a good thing none of them banded more birds than we did. If you are considering volunteering in the future you should, if I am unable to work here next season I hope to come as a volunteer and steadfastly refuse to write blog, as all our volunteers did this year.
Well I suppose all there is to do now is wish all our readers the best of luck coping without this daily blog. Avery is rushing off to band at Long Point, so if you feel a strong craving for blog I encourage you to email him and ask for daily updates. He will be returning to warm Colombia again this winter so we should all be very jealous and a little spiteful
|Species on census||108|
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