Mad Island Banding

March 24, 2014 by Emily Cohen

The 2014 crew is now on site at Mad Island and banding has begun! The 2014 crew is made up of Timothy Guida, Trischa Thorne, and Sean McElaney. Both Trischa and Tim are returnees from the 2013 crew, and Sean joins us as recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin.

From left to right: Sean, Timothy, and Trischa.

After road trips of various lengths, the crew got right to work preparing for the season. With a little hard work we had the site up and running by noon of the first day, setting up 29 individual nets which together total 324 meters in length!

29 nets were set up to capture birds.

Upon opening the nets it was apparent that migration had already started and migrants such as Northern Parula and Black-and-White Warbler were captured immediately.

Also notable during the first week is the incredible number of White-eyed Vireos at the site, with over 70 individuals banded so far.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

We also captured a species which we have not captured at the sight before, a young Ladder-backed Woodpecker, which probably dispersed here from a nearby population.

The preserve is wetter this year than last year, and larger numbers of water birds are being seen. Several Sandhill Cranes have not yet departed for their northward migration, and are still grazing in the fields.

The beginning of the season also allows ample opportunity to watch the coastline. Highlights so far, have been a Swallow-tailed Kite, Roseate Spoonbills, American White Pelicans, and a Bald Eagle who occasionally harass the droves of Laughing Gulls that follow the barges along the inter-coastal waterway.

We are looking forward to our next few months here, having front row seats to watch incredible migration in action.

144 birds captured
24 species captured
122 species observed