2013 Winter Activities
We started the 2013 banding season on January 2nd at the Hummer House attempting to trap an adult male Rufous Hummingbird that had been there for several weeks. He remained very trap shy which made us believe that he had seen our traps before this winter. While there, we netted two Red-breasted Nuthatches and saw several others that had arrived there for the winter. Despite the shortfall of migrants and winter residents during the fall and early winter, we made an early January banding attempt at the EWA (east windmill banding station). We discovered that better than average numbers of most winter sparrows had settled into that habitat for the remainder of the winter. This is very encouraging since many of these species were totally absent from that area all of the previous winter. We also banded our second Allen's Hummingbird of the winter season at the Hummer House during January. This brings our total to three of this species encountered this winter. The Allen's Hummingbird was a review species for the state of Texas only a few years ago.
We continued our banding efforts in February with a training day for our banding crew early in the month and made a couple of efforts to check populations of wintering birds near the spring and river. Populations of wintering birds in those areas were much better than the drought impacted previous season. We continued to band Red-breasted Nuthatches which do not often stay this late into the season. We also made preliminary banding efforts at the Duff Ranch in the southwest corner of Tom Green County. We believe this ranch will prove valuable to us as a site to compare migrating and breeding populations of birds away from the South Concho River corridor and give us better insight to migration patterns across the area.
In early March, we were at Twistflower Ranch in Crockett County giving a program for the Master Naturalists from Austin. We are happy to report that bird populations in that area are also recovering from the effects of the drought . While there we banded many resident and winter birds including a very nice Green-tailed Towhee which is a bird that we seldom see. In our first attempt at the Hummer House in March, we encountered many of the expected winter birds but also banded a Fox Sparrow for the first time in several seasons. We eagerly anticipate the beginning of the spring migration season and our busy seasons of the year.