It was another great summer in the Oaks - even with the challenges of living in a socially distanced world - with a few surprise captures and a few questions to dig further into. Conditions were fair throughout the season and the summer heat never seemed to settle in quite as much as other years.
Presented below are this summer's initial numbers (having gone through one stage of vetting so far) and impressions from the season.
Number of Birds Banded: 235
Number of Species Banded: 31
Number of Returns: 31*
Number of Recaptures: 68
Total Number of Species Recorded: 68
Total Number of Hours Station Operated: 39.17
Total Number of Net Hours: 626.72
Total New Birds per 100 Net Hours: 37.5
Top Ten Species Banded:
- Gray Catbird 38 (+5 returns)
- House Wren 32 (+1 return)
- Field Sparrow 28 (+9 returns)
- Common Yellowthroat 20 (+4 returns)
- Indigo Bunting 12 (+4 returns)
- Song Sparrow 12 (+1 return)
- American Goldfinch 10 (+2 returns)
- Yellow-breasted Chat 8
- Black-capped Chickadee 8
- Brown-headed Cowbird 7 (+1 return)
Highlights: Red-headed Woodpecker, Scarlet Tanager, White-eyed Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Mourning Dove, Blue-winged Warbler, and Chipping Sparrow.
Although numbers are still initial and have yet to be compared to previous years, this summer felt a little slow and delayed. Numerous causes could have contributed to this feeling including spring weather, habitat management choices, vegetation density and maturity, and just plain 'ol wrong place wrong time; but the timing of peak activity felt to be off by about a week or so. Final analyzed numbers should shed more light on this.
But while it may have felt "slow," one species that had an incredible summer was the Yellow-breasted Chat (YBCH). Northern Ohio sits at pretty much the northern extent YBCH's breeding range, resulting in relatively few encounters during migration and summer. Typically, we hope to catch 1 YBCH during banding operations in Oaks, but they appeared to have made quite the eruption this summer with numerous reports throughout the Oak Openings region. 8 being banded this summer exemplifies this surge as this is the highest number we've banded in a single season and represents 31% of the total YBCH that have been banded at the station since 1993 (26 in total from 1993-2020).
*Typically we only provide the number of recaptures (a bird banded or encountered within season) in our updates, but we've decided to also include for this compilation the number of returns (birds banded in previous seasons). Among other things, returns can shed light on the number of adult birds returning to a habitat to breed, demonstrate the strength of site fidelity exhibited by a species, and help reveal the longevity of species from numerous years of encounters.
For more info on BSBO's research at Oak Openings and the MAPS program, click here.
To learn how you can help BSBO's research team and how to adopt a mist net, click here.
Thank you to Metroparks Toledo for their support in our research of the birds of Oak Openings and their drive to implement wise and scientifically-based management practices for all wildlife.
And THANK YOU to the volunteers that helped us succeed in this project!!! This year, more so than ever, their willingness to help during summer conditions, while also adhering to covid restrictions and best practices, made for safe operations for both people and birds. We would not have been able to do this without them. Again, Thank You!
The MAPS program, developed by The Institute for Bird Populations is a continent-wide collaborative effort to assist the conservation of birds and their habitats through demographic and standardized monitoring.