2013 Painted Buntings
The month of August always signals the end of summer breeding season, the end of our MAPS season, and the arrival of the first fall migrants at the Hummer House. At the end of the summer breeding season, we always turn our energies to banding hatching year Painted Buntings before they depart for their winter grounds. A large percentage of Painted Buntings raised on the ranch will return in future years to nest and raise their own young in that habitat. Recapturing these returning birds yields excellent data as to Painted Bunting survivability and the status of the breeding population on the ranch. As we compiled records for our study of this species in late August at the Hummer House, we banded our 6000th Painted Bunting at that site. We ended the season with 641 banded for the year and a total of 6035 since the first of this species was banded there some 19 years ago. This number represents about one-third of the Painted Buntings banded in the United States during this time period and nearly half the number of this species banded in Texas. Since we started our study some five years ago, more than two-thirds of Painted Buntings in Texas have been banded at this site. It was a good year for this species and many other breeding birds as they enjoyed excellent reproductive success after the historical drought of 2011. Such species as the Vermilion Flycatcher, Blue Grosbeak, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Bell's Vireo have experienced notable recoveries this season.