Our third visit to Rock Ridge was a much busier affair than the last when just 9 birds were captured in six hours in mid June. We finished the morning with a total of 28 captures, the highest single-day tally we have had at this site so far. The variety of birds was also very good as fifteen species were handled during visit three. The highlight of the morning’s catch was this superb Broad-winged Hawk, which was in net #6 for little more than a few seconds as I pounced on it before it could get out. Birds of this size are rarely captured in our nets because the mesh is small, 30mm mesh to be exact, which is appropriate for most songbirds but not nearly large enough to hold a bird as big as a buteo for any length of time. This adult Broad-wing was spectacular up close and a rare treat as they are by no means a bird to be expected in a mistnet. The species is a local breeder in mature forests along with its relative the Red-shouldered Hawk.
Song Sparrows are suddenly more plentiful. They are one of the most abundant songbirds in North America, inhabiting a wide array of habitats with a strong preference for open and edge environments. A pair has been nesting just below our banding station atop the cliff at Rock Ridge. Field Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, White-throated Sparrow and Chipping are all much more common than Song Sparrow at the site.
A pair of male and female Nashville Warblers were captured in a net close to a suspected nest site along the northwestern slope of the MAPS station.
This is likely the reason why they were suddenly captured-fledged young. This is a recently fledged juvenile Nashville Warbler that was captured in the following net round and in the same net as the parents. This youngster was completely oblivious to its circumstance being in the net and handled by a pair of humans. We quickly returned it to its parents after measurements and banding as it is still dependent on its parents for food.
Another fabulous visit to Rock Ridge, a member station of our young MAPS network in the FBS study area. Given all that was done in June, it feels as though the breeding season should be wrapping up soon but in fact, we are less than halfway through our season and thus a great deal is yet to come! A summary of results for MAPS visit 3 is provided below.
Rock Ridge Results-Visit 3 of 7
New birds banded (23 of 14 species)
Great Crested Flycatcher-1
Recaptures (5 of 4 species)