Warblers on the move- Albany Pine Bush Preserve


It has been a very busy couple of days at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. We opened our mist nets in Karner Barrens East for the first day of fall migration banding on Tuesday morning. Twenty nets produced nearly one hundred birds, including migrants that breed locally, and others more distantly. Highlights included a very dull hatch-year Cape May Warbler (female), a Least Flycatcher, a Magnolia Warbler, seven (!) Tennessee Warblers, an adult Wilson's Warbler (male), two Black-throated Green Warblers, and two American Redstarts. 

Around mid-morning, I came up over a rise to the sight of seventeen small birds awaiting extraction from one net. Among them were many warblers- Wilson's, three Chestnut-sided, five Tennessee, two American Redstarts, and Black-throated Green. I also extracted and released a hatch-year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Bird banders need a separate, special banding permit in order to conduct hummingbird banding. We do not do this at APB, but I've watched Bob Yunick perform this intricate work at Five Rivers. I'm amazed he can even get a band around their tiny legs! 

We had a remarkable event on Tuesday, also. We saw a Tennessee Warbler in one of our nets that already had an aluminum band on it, a recapture. The band number prefix looked familiar, and we looked it up on our laptop back at the banding station. We had banded this migrant 362 days earlier, captured in the exact same net location. Talk about site fidelity! This was the first through-migrant we have recaptured. 

This morning, I did a three-mile loop on the yellow perimeter trail around Karner Barrens East. I ran into seven groups of singing/calling birds containing chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches. Each one had warblers and vireos in tow. Highlights included two Canada Warblers, a Tennessee Warbler, a Nashville Warbler, and a Cape May Warbler. Follow the adage: "For warblers in fall, go where chickadees call."

Lastly, we have been seeing migrants at home in Colonie early each morning, and around 5-7pm in the evening, for the last three days. Wilson's Warbler, American Redstart, Blackburnian Warbler, and many others. We even had a Canada Warbler come down and investigate the fountain in our small water-feature, twenty feet from us! I am always surprised by what can be found when one birds their own property with the same vigor as on a field trip.

Enjoy fall migration,

Tom Williams 

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