Assistants: Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Mike Mayerhofer,
Betsy Mcfarlane, Greg Rand, Clemence Soulard
managed to get in one day of banding this week on a beautifully mild
Wednesday, and recorded observations on four other days, making this a
much more productive period than week 15.
Among the 170 species on
the MBO checklist, one of the most surprising omissions from the shorter
list of species banded has been Pine Siskin. Though they are
reasonably common (albeit erratic) in the region in winter, and have
been seen at MBO on a number of occasions, it wasn't until this week
that we finally banded them for the first time. Interestingly, we
had not seen any since the beginning of the winter season, but a few
were present when we set up the nets on Wednesday morning, and by the
end of the session we had banded 7 individuals out of the flock of 13.
Fortunately, among this sample there was a good mixture of males and
females, and of young and older birds, giving us a great crash course in
siskin plumage variation.
Also noteworthy from the
day of banding were 3 female Northern Cardinals (unusually many for us
to catch in a single day), and 7 unbanded Black-capped Chickadees.
This is quite remarkable, given how many chickadees we have already
banded this winter, in addition to the dozens of long-term residents
that recaptures have proven are still in the area. Perhaps the
recent mild weather has already got some chickadees on the move.
the range of variation remains poorly understood, the extent of yellow
on the wing
and tail of Pine Siskins is believed to serve as an indication of sex
and age. The wing
shown above had the greatest extent of yellow among the 7 Pine Siskins
banded this week,
and is believed to be that of an after-second-year male.
(Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)