At this point, Baltimore Orioles and most of the flycatchers have completely left the area, and even though they SHOULD be gone, we have caught a few late Prothonotary Warblers. Along with new thrushes and warblers coming in, we have also banded a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a (gorgeous) White-throated Sparrow, and have heard Golden-crowned Kinglet and Red-breasted Nuthatch in the station (sure signs of fall). There have also been a few great surprise captures over the past couple of weeks including a hatching-year (HY) male Golden-winged Warbler.
Not necessarily a surprise capture (as we banded a significant amount of them) Magnolia Warbler is a great starter species for learning how to age and sex other Setophaga warblers. First, look for a molt limit in the wing to age the bird. In the bird pictured on the left, there is an obvious difference between the retained narrow, brown-gray juvenal primary coverts (p-covs) and alula, and the newer, black greater coverts (gr-covs); making this bird an HY. The
after-hatching-year (AHY)(adult) bird pictured on the right lacks a molt limit, showing similarly colored gr-covs and alula feathers, and wide, dark gray p-covs. Also note the AHY's wide, truncate tail feathers compared to the HY's relatively narrow tail feathers in the lower middle picture.