I just got back from Crown Point Banding Station where we had a very successful banding of migrating birds for two weeks. We banded over 1,000 birds of 69 species. We saw and heard 125 different species around the site. We pulled out early on Saturday, May 25, as we learned severe thunderstorms were coming at us in about an hour after checking the radar on our phones.
We got all the tents, remaining canopy and all 19 nets down in that hour with some help from many volunteers. We just got it all packed up in the vehicles, took a parting photo of the group and it started raining. We had rain on several days, and some nights, during the two weeks. Many of the bad storms went both north and south of us, but we got lots of rain. The net lanes were the wettest ever.
We set some records for several species of birds, but the topper was 312 blue jays. The old record was 121 for the same time period. We needed seven more to make 300. As we checked the nets and potter traps, seven is what we had. Blue Jay number 300 got his picture taken a few times. I believe common grackles also broke their record, which was 6. I banded ten myself, and others were caught.
Several Tennessee warblers were heard calling one morning while putting up the nets after a night of rain. By the end of that day, we had 21, with a few more caught in the following days. That day we caught our first common yellow throats, magnolia warblers and gray catbirds. We were banding birds at 5:30 a.m., and still banding at 1:30 p.m. They just didn’t stop hitting the nets. Picking birds ended when we took down the nets at dark. I believe we got over 200 birds that day. We had lots of volunteer help that day, and a school group to boot, who all got to hold and release a bird.
I just got home and went to Stillwater to band hummers on Sunday. It was raining lightly on the way up, but cleared and we banded until about eleven. We caught and banded 30 new birds, a few more males than females. We also caught a male that was banded there last May. Several people got to hold and photograph a hummer in hand. We hope to band there again on July 4th weekend. There were a few blackflies, but a slight breeze kept them moving around and not biting too much.
The trout should be biting, and some loons are already nesting, but that’s another story. See ya.