American Goldfinch near Guelph

RRBO recently received notice that one of the 2500+ American Goldfinches banded here on campus was recovered elsewhere. Only about 1% of small songbirds banded are found away from the place they were banded, so a report of this kind is always interesting. Usually, birds are not found far away, and usually they are dead. This report indicated that the goldfinch in question, a hatching-year male we banded here on 19 October 2010, was captured and released by another bander north of Guelph, Ontario (about 175 miles from Dearborn, as the goldfinch flies) on 10 May 2011.

Location of capture and release of American Goldfinch banded at RRBO.

What made this American Goldfinch capture even more special was that it was captured by Antonio Salvadori.

Young male American Goldfinch like the one RRBO banded that was caught in Ontario. Photo by. D. O'Brien.

Toni has been banding for nearly as long as I have been alive, founded the Guelph Banders Group, and bands at three locations. One is at his home in Guelph; another on a property in Ermosa, just outside of Guelph; and at Colwyn Farm, northeast of Guelph near the town of Fergus.

But there’s more:

In 2008, Toni captured and released a Blue Jay banded in the east Dearborn yard of RRBO’s Julie Craves and Darrin O’Brien. He caught the jay at his Ermosa, Ontario location.

And in 2012, we received notice that Toni once again recaptured this same goldfinch at Colwyn Farm, this time on 14 May 2012.

It’s hard to imagine the odds of this occurring. I might expect that Black Swamp Bird Observatory would capture some of our birds, or vice versa, given their volume and location on the north shore of Lake Erie about 50 miles nearly due south of RRBO. So far, this hasn’t happened.

We have had a few other notable long-distance recoveries of our birds: a Yellow-rumped Warbler caught in Tallahassee, FL, a White-throated Sparrow on Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, and a Northern Waterthrush in Wisconsin.

You can read more about other out-of-state recoveries of RRBO’s birds on our recoveries page, and about Toni’s banding history in this PDF from the Guelph Field Naturalists newsletter.

(Cross posted at Net Results)

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