Bird Banding Highlights – March and early April 2012

So far this season, we have had six days of bird banding in the PSU Arboretum’s Big Hollow property. Nick Kerlin is our official bird bander as well as the State College Bird Club president. The biggest change this season from previous seasons is that we have a new banding area – instead of sitting on the ground surrounded by bushes and trees, we are now located at the pavilion near the Air Quality Center. Our nets are all in the same locations as previous seasons, and we currently have 10 nets open most days. Despite slow migrations conditions through central PA this spring as well as high winds during the early morning hours; we have managed to capture 19 species of birds, totaling about 92 individual birds! I am very excited to say that we have also had quite a few recaptures – at least 10 of those 92 birds were recaptures! The most notable recaptures so far are two Blue Jays that were originally banded by us in 2010 and a Hermit Thrush originally banded by us last spring. Below are a few of my photos from this banding season so far, I hope you enjoy them!

This Tufted Titmouse was the very first bird we banded this season! (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

I love catching Blue Jays in the mist nets. This bird was caught on 3/29/11. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

This is me holding the very first Fox Sparrow to be banded in Big Hollow! (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

We have captured about 6 Hermit Thrushes so far this year, many more than we typically get on average during the fall season. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

So far this White-crowned Sparrow is the only individual of this species that we have captured so far this spring, but many more should be on there way! (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

I love catching birds that have already been banded, and it is even better when you catch two at once! That is what happened this past Saturday when I walked up to the nets and there was two chickadees laying in the net together and both birds were banded! (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

This past Saturday we also captured the first Brown Creeper to ever have been banded in Big Hollow. Although Brown Creepers are common in Big Hollow in general, they are never seen in the brushy habitats of privet bushes, where our nets are set up. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

This Gray Catbird, banded on 4/4/12, was the first individual to be reported in Centre County so far this year! Big Hollow is one of the best places to find catbirds in the fall, so I am not surprised one is back early to stake out its territory. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)