Birds & Beers & Banding

The last Birds and Beers was a huge gathering. Some regulars and some new peeps came to join in the fun.

We had a drawing from some prizes courtesy of Woodlink. We gave away a few of their "Happy Hour Hummingbird Feeders." They're nectar feeders in the shape of a daiquiri, margarita, and martini--how appropriate! In the background of this photo is Liz Stanley who runs The Overlook Circle Feeder Cam. She warns on her site that images are uploaded every 30 seconds during daylight hours, Central Time. During the winters here, days are short so daylight is only 7:30am to 4:30pm. In the summer, it's much longer, lasting from 5:30am to 9:30pm. If the image is completely dark, please check back in the morning. Check it out! There's also Jim Ryan in the background who runs Jim Ryan Outdoors Blog.

The big excitement came when Mark Newstrom arrived with extra copies of the new Peter Pyle book, Identification Guide to North American Birds Part II. Some readers have seen Pyle referenced in this blog before, it's a sleep inducing tome essential to aging and sexing birds if you are a bander. Up to this point, we've only had Part I which had warblers, chickadees, sparrows, vireos, etc. This year part II was released which tells banders how to age and sex waterfowl, boobies and spoonbills. We took turns doing dramatic readings of Part II. There's a bit more talk of distended cloacas (great band name) and duck penises in this volume, but that's about as exciting as it gets. Here's a sentence from the zone-tailed hawk section:

"Shape and color pattern to the retrices by feather generation and sex in Zone-tailed Hawk. R5 is shown and is usualy the last feather replaced during molts and the most likely to be retained during the PB2 and DPB."

Or there's this on molt in Canada geese:

"PF partial-incomplete (Sep/Nov-Jan/Apr in HY/SYs), PB2 complete (Jun-Nov in non-breeding SYs), DPB complete (Jul-Dec in breeding AHYs); PA absent."

And if you can understand either of those sentences, then you'll want a copy of the Peter Pyle book. If you don't, take heart that you have a life and run before you get sucked in to the point of no return.

Speaking of banding, we had an interesting and busy morning at Carpenter Nature Center on Friday--lots of juncos! I think they sensed the impending blizzard that was about to hit. Above is a Potter's Trap and it has 2 doors and usually only gets 1 or 2 birds at a time. This trap had three juncos in it!

We also got in some chickadees and a blue jay (the blue jay got in the traps before I arrived, so no photo).

We did get another interesting retrap. I was processing this black-capped chickadee that already had a band. When I read the number to Mary who helps us track the data, she looked it up and found that we originally banded this chickadee on November 10, 2006. I checked the archives of the blog to see if I had a photo of when it was first banded, but discovered that I was in Harlingen, TX at that time and wouldn't have been there on its original processing date.