Bird Banding at Caddo Lake

March 2000


This is a report of our bird banding efforts just west of Caddo Lake near Jefferson, Texas, for the Saturdays of March 4, 11 and 25.  Dr. Jim Ingold, ornithologist at LSU-Shreveport, led the banding effort.  On March 4, we caught and banded an Indigo Bunting, a summer bird that had arrived very early.  Also, a record of 121 birds was caught.

On March 11, we caught four new sparrow species for this location:  Chipping, Savannah, Henslow's, and Le Conte's Sparrows.  On March 25, our count of 27 was low because threatening weather cut short our activity.

--  Tom Walker

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I.  Saturday, March 4, 2000

A total of 121 birds were caught.  (New birds: 75.  Retraps: 46)

Weather Conditions:
Heavy low cloudiness and slight northerly breeze.  About 4:00 p.m. fair skies arrived.  Temperature: The morning low was in the mid-40's and the high held steady at 52 for the duration of the cloud cover.   When late afternoon sunny skies arrived, the high climbed into the upper 50's.

Time:  Started at 8:00 a.m. and ended at 5:00 p.m. CST.
Number of Nets: 12

Special Notes:
An Indigo Bunting was caught and banded!  This is extraordinarily early for indigo buntings to be arriving for the summer.  Also caught were a Pine Warbler, a retrapped Winter Wren that was banded in December 1998, and a retrapped Ruby-crowned Kinglet that was banded over two years ago.

We have seen new species for this location.  They include a Le Conte's Sparrow and a Chipping Sparrow.  It has been a long mystery that Chipping Sparrows have never been seen before at this location since banding began in 1996.

The number of 121 birds caught shatters the old previous record of 75 birds caught in one day.  Several factors may account for this.  Heavy cloudiness and cool weather in the past have always contributed to higher than average number of catches.  Furthermore, near the net areas are several feeders that were kept well supplied throughout the winter which were heavily used by the birds, especially during the period of snow and ice.

List of New Birds Banded (75):

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)         5
Pine Warbler (Dendroica discolor)                1
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 20
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)                 9
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)                19
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)       20
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)                1


List of Retraps (46):

Band number followed by original banding date in parentheses. Retrap dates not including 03-04-2000.
(* Did not go back and check for previous retraps before 01-22-2000.  This pertains to the fox sparrow.)

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)                1 
     1541-85697 (1-9-99)

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)         1 
     902-62967 (1-15-2000)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)         1 
     2060-89611 (1-31-98)

Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)            1 
     2160-80813 (12-26-98)

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)                  1 
     *8031-13279 (11-27-97) 1-22-2000

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)                 1 
     1541-85792 (11-27-99) 1-15-2000

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 23 
     1411-91602 (12-11-99)

     1411-91607 (1-15-99)
     1411-91612 (1-15-99)
     1411-91613 (1-15-99)
     1411-91615 (1-15-99)
     1411-91616 (1-15-99)
     1411-91618 (1-15-99)
     1411-91621 (1-15-99)
     1411-91633 (1-22-99)
     1411-91634 (1-22-99)
     1411-91640 (1-22-99)
     1411-91646 (1-22-99)
     1411-91647 (1-22-99)
     *1441-64552 (12-14-96)
     1541-85680 (11-28-99)
     1541-85682 (11-12-98) 12-26-98; 1-22-2000
     1541-85755 (04-03-99) 1-22-2000
     1541-85770 (11-20-99)
     1541-85776 (11-20-99)
     1541-85778 (11-20-99)
     1541-85786 (11-20-99)
     4501-56020 (10-18-97)
     4501-56059 (01-10-98)

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)                 3
     2160-80879 (12-11-99)
     2160-80880 (12-11-99)
     2160-80885 (1-15-2000)

 

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)       14
     8081-89066 (04-04-98)
     8081-89101 (11-28-98)
     8081-89123 (04-03-99)
     8081-89136 (09-25-99) 11-27-99
     8081-89144 (10-02-99) 11-20-99
     8081-89147 (10-02-99) 11-20-99
     8081-89158 (10-16-99) 11-20-99
     8081-89162 (10-16-99) 11-27-99
     8081-89163 (10-16-99) 1-22-2000
     8081-89165 (10-16-99) 1-15-2000
     8081-8917? (11-20-99 or 11-27-99) last digit on band was unreadable
     8081-89196 (1-22-2000)
     8081-89198 (1-22-2000)
     8001-47702 (1-22-2000)

Other birds that were seen or heard on Saturday, March 4, 2000:

(List compiled from sightings of Peggy Harding and Jim Ingold)

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Northern  Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus)
Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis)
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
Le Conte's Sparrows (Ammodramus leconteii)
Chipping Sparrows (Spizella passerina)
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

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II. Saturday, March 11, 2000

A total of 47 birds were caught.  (New birds: 30.  Retraps: 17)

Weather Conditions:
Strong gusting northerly wind for most of the day but slowing down by mid-afternoon.  The evening before it had rained 1.10" during an approaching cold front.  During the morning the sky was partly cloudy with fast moving low clouds carried by the north wind, but the sky was completely fair by mid-afternoon.  Temperature: The morning low was in the mid-40's and rose into the upper 50's for most of the day.

Time:  Started at 8:45 a.m. and ended at 4:00 p.m. CST.

Number of Nets: 12  (A new habitat, a grassy hayfield, was tried.  Three of the nets were repositioned into it around 11:30 a.m.  This resulted in capturing sparrow species new to our banding efforts.)

Special Notes:
We caught four new sparrow species for this location: 2 Henslow's, 1 Le Conte's, 4 Savannah, and 4 Chipping Sparrows.  The first three species were caught when we walked the fields to drive the birds towards strategically placed nets.  The Chipping Sparrows were caught near feeders.

List of New Birds Banded (30):

Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)                  1
Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis)           2
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)   9
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)                  3
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)      4
Le Conte's Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii)         1
Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)          2
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)             4
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)         4



List of Retraps (17):

Band number followed by original banding date in parentheses.  Retrap dates not including 03-11-2000.
* Did not go back and check for previous retraps before 03-4-2000.

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)          1 
     1541-85790 (11-27-99)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)          1 
     2060-89611 (1-31-98) 3-4-2000

Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)                  1 
     1990-28049 (3-4-2000)

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)   6 
     1411-91619 (1-15-99)

     1411-91624 (1-15-99)
     1521-67816 (I may have misread the band number; if not this is someone else's bird)
     1541-85755 (4-3-99) 1-22-2000; 3-4-2000
     1541-85794 (11-27-99) 1-12-2000
     4501-56126 (2-14-98) 12-26-98; 11-20-99

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)         8
     8081-89138 (09-25-99) 11-20-99
     8081-89151 (10-16-99) 11-20-99
     8081-89165 (10-16-99) 1-15-2000, 3-4-2000
     8081-89181 (11-27-99)
     8001-47750 (3-4-2000)
     8001-47756 (3-4-2000)
     8001-47759 (3-4-2000)
     8001-47764 (3-4-2000)


Other birds that were seen or heard on Saturday, March 11, 2000:

(List compiled from sightings of Peggy Harding, Jim Ingold, and Tom Walker)

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura)
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Yellow-shafted  Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)
Meadowlark species (Genus: Sturnella)
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
 

 

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III. Saturday, March 25, 2000

 

A total of 27 birds were caught (new birds - 15; retraps - 12). 

Our count was low because threatening weather cut short our activity.

Weather Conditions:
The morning low was in the 60's and the high reached into the 70's.  Low clouds were threatening rain most of the morning, and we watched the weather radar show a band of thundershowers approaching from the west.  Around 11:00 a.m. a light sprinkle had convinced us we were going to be doused so we took down all the nets.  However, the rain threat dispersed and patches of blue sky broke through as soon as the last net was down.  (Oh well.)  Then in a new location we raised 4 nets consecutively in a row along the edge of the hayfield for the purpose of trapping sparrows that dwell in the grasses.

Time:  Started at 8:00 a.m. and ended 1:15 p.m. CST.
Number of Nets:
    From 8:00  a.m. to 11:00 a.m.: 9 nets
    From 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. : 4 nets

 

Special Notes:

The Le Conte's Sparrow (1651-44671)that we had banded two weeks earlier was retrapped.  This proves it was living here and not just passing through.  A White-throated Sparrow (1541-85651) that we had banded two years ago was retrapped, and it had been retrapped earlier this season.  A Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2060-89611) that we had banded two years ago was retrapped, and it had been retrapped earlier this season.  A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, a summer bird, was caught and banded.

We heard several White-eyed Vireos vocalizing, which proves they have returned for the summer.

Notably absent:  Dark-eyed Juncos, Fox Sparrows, and Eastern Towhees.  They were all commonly present until now.

The Eastern Towhee has successfully eluded us this fall-winter-spring season from being caught and banded.  Not a single one was caught.  It was all over the place near our nets.  We took measures to shoo it into them.  But that bird proved too smart, at least for this year.

List of New Birds Banded (15):
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)      1
Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis)          2
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  4
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)                 3
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)        5

List of Retraps (12):
Band number followed by original banding date in parentheses.  Retrap dates not including 03-25-2000.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)         1
     2060-89611 (01-31-98) 03-04-2000, 03-11-2000

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  7
     1411-91632 (01-22-2000)
     1521-67833 (03-11-2000)
     1521-67835 (03-11-2000)
     1521-67836 (03-11-2000)
     1541-85651 (04-04-98) 01-15-2000
     1541-85755 (04-03-99) 01-22-2000; 03-04-2000
     1541-85772 (11-20-99) 12-11-99

Le Conte's Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii)         1
     1651-44671 (03-11-2000)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)        3
     8001-47769 (03-04-2000)
     8081-89101 (11-28-98) 03-04-2000
     8081-89184 (11-27-99)

Other birds that were seen or heard on Saturday, March 25, 2000:
(List compiled by Dorothy Metzler, Jim Ingold, Diane Jones, and Tom Walker.)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)              2
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)
Tufted Titmouse (Parus bicolor)
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) 1 female at feeder
Northern Parula (Parula americana)
Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea)
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)
Henslow's Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii)
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)

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Reports compiled and written by Tom Walker [E-mail: twalkercaddolaketx(at)att.net].


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