On Friday at Carpenter Nature Center we didn't get in loads of birds and I think all of the ones we got were re traps--birds that have been banded before. But that's important because it gives you an idea of age and territory habits--these birds are year round residents or in the case of juncos the birds are returning to the same spot.
They were passing around a sheet with ages of birds documented through banding. It had both the records for the Bird Banding Lab (BBL) and for Carpenter. According to Carpenter's records, they oldest black-capped chickadee they have documented was 7 years and 4 months. The BBL's oldest black-capped chickadee record was 12 years and 7 months, the sheet didn't say what state the record came from. I went to the BBL website to see if I could find the state the 12 year old chickadee had been banded but it didn't give that info. Interestingly, the website reads that the oldest chickadee is 12 years and 5 months. But I have a feeling that the site hasn't been updated recently and the 12 years and 7 months is a recent record.
So, keep an eye on the chickadees in your backyard. Just think one of the little dudes you are watching right now could be between 7 - 12 years old. Think of that: the storms in your yard, the snows, the cold, the heat, the predators--that tiny bird is capable of surviving well past a decade.
If you are interested in the oldest species on record according to banding records from the BBL, check this link here. I think I need to start eating more fish.
Above is a photo of a cardinal that we banded on September 15 of this year. Because of the black patches on the bill and some of the brown feathers mixed in, we knew this male had been hatched in the spring of 2006. We re trapped him on Friday.
He was now completely red, with just a hint of black on the tip. I tried to take a photo outside and the first one was without a flash. You can see how red he is but he is out of focus. I decided to try the flash.
Ack! Total washout! I am so not a nature photographer. Although, it's interesting that the flash made some of the feathers yellow. I almost need to take a class to figure out all the bells and whistles with this new Fuji Camera.
Incidentally, the oldest cardinal that Carpenter has documented was 9 years and 9 months. BBL's was 15 years and and 9 months.