We ended the season on May 15 with 1,310 birds of 32 species banded or recaptured. This is slightly more birds overall than in 2022, and this year followed a similar pattern where we banded as many birds in the first two weeks of May as we did in the previous 6 weeks. The top 5 species were 225 Common Yellowthroats, 200 American Redstarts, 172 Black-throated Blue Warblers, 129 Ovenbirds, and 109 Northern Waterthrush. Nothing weird turned up in our nets and we were teased by Black-whiskered Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks that remained unbanded. We did encounter a record 10 Veery and 21 Swainson’s Warblers, with 3 of the latter overwintering birds banded during Fall 2022!
Last bird on last day, a female Black-throated Blue Warbler. With famous background tree whose bark has been featured in hundreds of photos over the years. (photo by Jackie Guzy)
After the huge push of birds the first week of May, we settled into a steady stream of mostly female or young male American Redstarts and female Common Yellowthroats, with a smattering of other species sprinkled in. A female Blackpoll Warbler graced us with her presence on the final day. The weather was already hot and summer-like, but at least the late April mosquito outbreak has died down. Redstarts quietly foraged around us in small groups as we took down the nets for the season. We ended with our mascot, the Black-throated Blue Warbler.
Female Blackpoll Warbler (photo by Bob Warren)
Male Common Yellowthroat (Photo by Jackie Guzy)
One last Connecticut Warbler was mixed in with all the Common Yellowthroats on May 12. Here is a good comparison of the two, as over-eager birders sometimes confuse them. First of all, Common Yellowthroats should be called Extremely Abundant Yellowthroats, as they can be everywhere on some days during migration. There are a lot of them, and they have a long migration period, plus some winter here and others breed here, at least out in the Everglades. Connecticut Warblers are much rarer, and generally are only seen here in spring during the first two weeks in May.
Connecticut Warbler (left) and Common Yellowthroat females (photo by Nasim Mahomar)
Both these birds are females with similar plumage; the males are easy to distinguish from each other. The Connecticut Warbler is a larger, bulkier bird who walks rather than hops, and has a brighter, even-colored lemon yellow on her underparts. The grayish breast and throat is distinctive, and the complete eye-ring gives her away. Female Common Yellowthroats can be an assortment of colors, with some individuals very dull and others brighter yellow underneath. They almost always have more of an egg-yolk yellow throat, a buffy or whitish belly, and the yellow resumes on the under-tail coverts. They also generally only have a hint of an eye ring, although this can be variable. The Yellowthroat in the photo has a trace of the face pattern one would expect to see in a female Black-throated Blue Warbler.
Eddy, Steffanie, Michelle, Sierra, Nahuel, Karlisa and a Prairie Warbler (Photo by Karlisa Callwood)
And finally, we end with some photos of some of our volunteers and guests over the spring. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of the Cape Florida Banding Station, and without you this 21-year dataset involving over 46,000 birds would not have been possible. Along the way we have built a great community and established some life-long friendships. It is hard to find the words to convey how much I thank y’all for helping allow this dream I had a long time ago to become such a solid reality!
Gus, Yvette, Eddy, Danny and Miriam (photo by Eliana Ardila)
Our classic guys!
American Redstart (left) and Black-throated Blue Warbler males (Photo by Steffanie Munguía)
Spring 2023 Totals
|Great Crested Flycatcher||1||–|
|Cape May Warbler||5||–|
|Black-throated Blue Warbler||172||–|
|Western Palm Warbler||3||–|
|Black & White Warbler||103||4|
|# BIRDS CAPTURED||# SPECIES||# NETS||NET HOURS||CAPTURE RATE (BIRDS/100NH)|