Fall banding 2000 took place on 51 days from 14 August to 1 November. While it wasn’t as soggy as spring, we did lose 9 days to rain. Great warm weather in late fall helped us move steadily to overtake last year’s fall record, but the last week turned cold and frost prevented us from opening our nets for the first critical few hours of the morning. Nets were open an average of 3.8 hours per day with average 17.5 nets (12 meter equivalent1).
Nonetheless, we did exceed last year’s totals. We banded 1526 new birds and had 294 recaptures. A total of 1961 birds were netted (this includes birds released unbanded). Our capture rate was 57.3 birds per 100 net-hours. Previous fall means are 1066 new birds and 1341 total, and 53.6 per 100 net-hours. We handled 75 species, plus 3 released unbanded (European Starling, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, House Sparrow). The most numerous species were:
* American Robin — 199
* Gray Catbird — 167
* American Goldfinch — 134
* White-throated Sparrow — 110
* Swainson’s Thrush — 90
The previous spring mean number of species is 68. We missed a number of species we nearly always band (Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Brown Thrasher), but made up for it with some unusual species (see below!).
Here are some species we banded in excellent numbers (total followed by previous fall mean, deviation from mean):
* Nashville Warbler (42, 14.6, +188%)
* Tennessee Warbler (25, 7.1, +252%)
* Orange-crowned Warbler (14, 3.3, +324%)
* Black-throated Blue Warbler (20, 6.8, +194%). Our 3rd good year in a row.
* Lincoln’s Sparrow (14, 3, +367%)
Kinglets were also banded in large numbers. We have only been banding kinglets for 4 years, and this year Golden-crowned Kinglets were up 468% from the 4-year mean, Ruby-crowned’s 181%.
On the other hand, Gray-cheeked Thrushes were down, with only 3 banded; mean is 16.5 Swainson’s and Hermit Thrushes were in normal numbers, but we had no Veeries this fall; mean is 4.3. For the second fall in a row, we did not band any Yellow-bellied Flycatchers; mean is 2.9.
A Bobolink spotted on 5 Sep is one of the few campus records. A fantastic male Golden-winged Warbler banded 17 Sep took the beauty prize for fall. A Northern Parula Warbler on 28 Sep was our 3rd ever banded, while a Clay-colored Sparrow on 18 Oct was only our 2nd ever. A young female Sharp-shinned Hawk we caught on 1 Oct had been banded at Holiday Beach, Ontario two days previously…this is only our second capture of a bird banded elsewhere in 9 years! Banding a Blue-headed Vireo is always a treat. Although not a flight year in the Great Lakes region, we did band 4 Northern Saw-whet Owls.
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- In order to compare different locations or years that may operate the same number of hours but with more or fewer nets, capture rate is calculated by “net-hours.” One net hour is one 12-meter net open one hour, or two 6-meter nets open one hour, etc. This rate is often expressed per 100 net-hours for more manageable numbers. ↩