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The Last Banding

Posted by: charlotte-chang | August 17, 2009 | No Comment |

The MAPS (Monitoring Avian Survival and Productivity) protocol has a set range of dates for bird banding. As I stated before, in the last few banding periods (periods 8-10 to be specific), juvenile birds should predominate. MAPS has the overall goal of assessing survivorship and breeding rates of resident birds, and as such, its protocol asks mist net operators to note birds that are potentally transitory migrants (lest they skew our survivorship estimates). Therefore, we should catch a larger proportion of young birds near the end of the season because they are beginning to be active, and the vast majority are preparing to migrate.

Our last banding day was Friday, 8/7, and we caught a total of 32 birds which was quite remarkable. In addition, most of the birds we caught were juveniles, with two exciting new catches—our first clay-colored sparrow (which was incidentally a juvenile), and a just-feathered hatchling yellow warbler that looked as though it had fallen out of its nest and into the net!

Amy holding a Yellow Warbler.

Amy holding a Yellow Warbler.

Lee Cornwell, one of the owners of this beautiful grassland ranch, graciously allowed us to ask him a few questions. In college, his major introduced to him a rotational grazing system that he and his brothers believed would be better for the land. Currently, all of his pastures are on a rest/graze system, where they are rested for months or even years between grazings to allow the plant community to recover.

He and his family have a deep commitment to sustainable use of their land, and he hopes that future generations of Cornwells will continue to graze their land wisely so that the flora and fauna associated with their ranch can continue to florish. He has taken remarkably good care of his ranch and holds a deep knowledge of the local landscape. We thank Lee for his hospitality, for allowing us to use this land, and  forthe wonderful care he has paid to this landscape.

Lee Cornwell standing outside his home. Thank you Lee!

Lee Cornwell standing outside his home. Thank you Lee!

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