The above photo was taken by Dave Cahlander in early January 2007 in Mountain Lake, MN. He sent an email yesterday saying:
"With the help of photos taken by Steve Roman, we now have a complete band number for the Green-tailed Towhee. 8051-98299 I've submitted this to the bird banding lab, but they don't have a record of this band being used. I'll check with them in a day or two and report any information that they have."
According to Jon McCracken of the Bird Banding Lab:
"Yes, incredibly enough this is the bird that John Woodcock banded at TCBO on 10 June/06. It was an after second year male (wings = 78mm; weight = 29.0g; fat =trace) captured in the Heligoland Trap. Wow! It would be great to get all the details (incl location) on the MN sighting. Even if it didn't venture very far, it'd make a great "latest news" blurb.
Here is a photo of the exact same towhee taken by John Woodcock, the day he banded him June 10, 2006 in Thunder Bay! You can read the note about this bird at here.
This is the bird banding equivalent of winning the lottery. It's not often you trap and band a bird and find it again still alive and still traveling. To have it be so out of range and a rarity for Canada and Minnesota is very exciting. We have an idea of his sex and age--this is not just a young bird who got lost or has crossed wires. This bird has been around the block and is at least three years old. Where else has he been?
I'm so grateful for all the banders and photographers involved to get to the bottom of this very cool bird mystery...although, now I wonder...where was it hatched?
Okay, now I seriously have to pack for Atlanta, I'm leaving tomorrow morning.