I have been hearing this wistful observation from many of our Florida friends over the last couple of weeks, and I can sympathize! These birds are usually as reliable as they come – if you typically see them by the 15th of November, you expect them to arrive at that time every year! However, with the continued warm weather in the breeding range (temperatures are forecast to be in the high 60s and low 70s in the coastal Carolinas for at least the next 10 days) and plenty of wild food resources in Florida, you may not see your regular group of Painted Buntings for weeks to come!&n Read more »
We wish all our PBOT friends a very happy holiday season! I apologize for the extended silence from PBOT Headquarters – I took a minor fall several weeks ago that injured my right elbow (my dominant arm!) and has prevented me from doing much typing. Despite this, I continue to read all your emails and answer any emergency requests, upload our friends’ photos to Flickr, and approve sightings as often as possible. I am thrilled to hear from our good friends in Florida as their birds arrive and get comfortable in their winter territory – and we’ve had new friends sign up to h Read more »
I was away from PBOT Headquarters during the month of September (typically a quiet month for PBOT), but I was checking in occasionally to approve sightings, publish comments, and post the last of our summer interns’ blogs. We had another great group of UNC-Wilmington students working with us this summer, submitting observations from many of the public sites (state parks, recreation areas and aquaria) along the coast of North Carolina, and writing short blog posts that many of you enjoyed and commented on. You can still see their blogs on our Read more »
I’ve been doing some observing at the Fort Fisher Aquarium and State Park, and have noticed that there weren’t as many birds as before! I think Hurricane Irene may have scared them off, but the ones that I did see were mostly unbanded which was interesting. Also, I’ve been noticing that the grown male birds aren’t around as much anymore, but that the young green birds with molting may be males! They look so different when they have molting, more like finches. It’s hard to recognize them! Other than that, observing is going well.
I have been spending more time at Carolina Beach State Park and the Fort Fisher Recreation Center, and have noticed that I see more green birds than male birds! Also, a lot of the green birds have molting on their heads and bodies which look really interesting. I also saw that a green unbanded bird is continuing to feed another unbanded bird that stays on the branch above the feeder at the State Park, it was really cute. Also, the birds are starting to come back and feed for seconds and thirds I’ve noticed.
Observation Session at Carolina Beach State Park from 15:30-20:00. The observations today were much different than my first session because there were a plethora of un-banded green birds today that were using the feeder. I saw very few banded birds, and the great majority of the birds that I saw today were un-banded greenies. It was very interesting today as well because I saw one banded greenie come back to the feeder numerous times and I was able to see it feeding another greenie that was un-banded. Read more »
Yes, you read that right! We have heard from friends all over the state – from Amelia Island in the northeast all the way south to Miami – all spotting males, and a few greenies, arriving as early as the first week of August! Because the males are often the first to leave on migration (to defend their breeding territory in the spring and summer, and because they are off fledgling-care duty in the early fall), you are likely to spot them arriving at the feeder first – sometimes weeks before the green females and young birds appear. I recently experienced this during a week- Read more »
After having gone to a few banding sessions, I'm loving it. We band the unbanded birds with new bands, 2 on each leg, and record the already-banded birds into data sheets. Everyone's houses I've gone to to band have been so welcoming and nice, it was a lot of fun! We recently did a banding session at Fort Fisher Aquarium, and we caught so many, it was great practice! I hope to do more banding sessions soon, those are my favorite.
Today was a great banding day! Heather, Chelsea, and I went to the Aquarium at Fort Fisher with the hopes of banding (maybe) 10 birds – we ended up banding over 20 and recapturing about the same amount! That’s over 40 birds in 5 hours! That’s definitely a record for our sites here in NC. For the first few hours, I was the “runner”, the person who gets the birds from the traps and puts them in individual bags while Chelsea and Heather worked on banding and recording. Read more »
Today was a really slow day in terms of catching Buntings. We only caught 3 total- 2 new and 1 recapture- but I did the measurements and bands for all three of them. I am completely comfortable now with banding, and I feel like I would be able to do it alone if I was allowed to. The only complaint I had about today was that there were stray cats all over the place and we had to scare them off about every 15 or so minutes!