September Banding ActivitiesSeptember was a busy from the first day of the month. On the first day, we were at the Hummer House trapping hummingbirds in the hope of banding some of the Rufous Hummingbirds that were being seen there. We caught mostly Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Black-chinned Hummingbirds but managed to band one Rufous Hummingbird at dusk.
We then traveled to Ft. Davis where we were privileged to band western hummingbirds with Kelly Bryan. We banded seven species of hummingbirds at seven locations ranging from Carolyn Ohl's Christmas Mountain Oasis to the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute. It was a awesome experience in an awesome region of Texas. We are indebted to Kelly and Donna Bryan, Carolyn Ohl-Johnson, Marc and Maryann Eastman, Terry and Suzi Ervin, Bonnie Wunderlich, the CDRI, and the Davis Mountains Preserve for allowing us to be a part of the truly significant research being conducted with the hummingbirds of this region.
Check out Carolyn's truly amazing oasis at http://cmoasis.blogspot.com/.
Shortly after returning from the Davis Mountains, we traveled to Rockport, Texas where we were privileged to assist Kelly Bryan as he banded Ruby-throated Hummingbirds as part of the Rockport Hummerbird Festival. Thousands of hummingbirds and at least as many visitors to the community came together to celebrate the southward migration of these birds through that region of Texas.
Beginning on the second day of the month, we conducted our first migrant banding at the Hummer House. Migration was not in full swing at that point but we banded the second Baltimore Oriole ever banded at the Hummer House. We were short-handed for our second attempt at banding migrants during the month. The first net run quickly revealed how much of a problem that would be. That net run yielded 8 species of warblers including an adult male American Redstart, two Mourning Warblers, a Northern Waterthrush, and an Ovenbird. There were so many birds present at the location, we were forced to close our nets much of the morning to insure the safety of the birds. However, an additional Baltimore Oriole and a Blue-headed Vireo were also netted in our abbreviated attempts at banding.
The remainder of the month has continued in that same pattern. Although all of our available volunteers have assisted, the number of birds has been impressive and our lists of species banded continue to include many birds not usually banded at the Hummer House or other places in the Concho Valley. American Redstarts, Blue-headed Vireos, Baltimore Orioles, Belted Kingfishers, a Lazuli Bunting, Indigo Buntings, House Wrens, and Ovenbirds have been netted in the past two weeks. Two records for the month seem significant. The second Magnolia Warbler banded in the Concho Valley was banded this month along with the first Northern Parula banded at that site. We hope to post a discussion of the current migration season as soon as time permits.