Bird Banding at Caddo Lake


This is a report of our bird banding efforts at my home (just west of Caddo Lake near Jefferson, Texas) for the Saturdays of December 11, November 27, and November 20, 1999.  The bird banding was lead by Dr. Jim Ingold, ornithologist at LSU-Shreveport.  Several birders helped, and they include Cyndie Browning of Atlanta, TX; Peggy Harding of Kilgore, TX; Diane Jones of Jonesville, TX; and Dorothy Metzler of Longview.  Many others came for short periods to observe from Shreveport, Houston, and Arkansas.  They included Barry and Ann Bennick of Jefferson (and family), Carolyn and Dickie Luce of Mooringsport, Louisiana (and family), and Alan Law of Shreveport.

--  Tom Walker

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Table of Contents:

I.  Birds Banded December 11, 1999
II.  Birds Banded November 27, 1999
III.  Birds Banded November 20, 1999

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I. Saturday, December 11, 1999

Total Birds Caught:  34.  (New birds: 23.  Retraps: 11.)

Time:  Started at 8:00 a.m. and the nets were down by 12:15 p.m. CST.

Number of Nets: 11

Weather conditions:

Rain and wind were our enemies.  The day was completely overcast in low clouds.  It began at near 48 degrees Fahrenheit and rose to 50 by noon.  The wind was steady.  Light rain was approaching from the south and finally arrived at noon as part of a moist warm front overriding the cooler air at the surface.  We periodically checked for approaching rain on the weather radar on the Internet.

Special Notes:

The day was cut short at noon by light rain.

A flock of 6 Field Sparrows were caught at once at noon just as the rain was beginning.  At the same time we caught a Bewick's Wren, our second one ever.

At another time, we caught an unbanded male cardinal with no tail feathers!  Could it have had a close call with a predator?  One of the unbanded sparrows also had a set of wing feathers missing, possibly for a similar reason.

The unbanded Orange-crowned Warbler that was caught had a head which was grayer than one would expect.  We closely studied the bird manuals to double check its identification.  It did have a tiny patch of orange feathers on its head, so that cinched it.

One of our nets located by brush in a field and which had been a low producer in terms of birds caught, surprisingly delivered half our catch today.  The difference may be due to the fact the sun which was hidden by clouds was not present to cause a glare to shine off the netting.  Also, all our Field Sparrows, juncos, and the Orange-crowned Warbler were caught in it. 

List of New Birds Banded (23):

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)                   1
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)                1
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)         1
Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)              1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)         2
Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata)        1
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)                  1
Song Sparrow (Melospira melodia)                 2
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)              1
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)                 2
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)                 5
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)        1

List of Retraps (11):

Species Band Number Original Banding Date Retrap Dates 
(not including 12-11-99)
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 4501-56020 (10-18-97)
" 4501-56063 (01-10-98) 11-27-99
" 4501-56133 (02-14-98) 11-28-99
" 1541-85772 (11-20-99)
" 1541-85678 (11-21-98) 11-28-98 12-20-98 04-03-99
" 1541-85779 (11-20-99)
" 1541-85785 (11-20-99) 11-27-99
Field Sparrow 
(Spizella pusilla)
2160-80870 (11-28-99)
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 8081-89112 (01-16-99) 04-03-99 11-20-99
" 8081-89148 (10-02-99)
" 8081-89178 (11-27-99)

Other birds seen or heard, Saturday, December 11, 1999:

Gadwall duck (Anas strepera)                    13
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)                1
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)                 3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)                  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)           12
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)              3
Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)                 3
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)             26
Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)         3
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Eastern Towhee (Pipiloerythrophthalmus)          4 

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II. Saturday, November 27, 1999

Total Birds Caught:  53.  (New birds: 35.  Retraps: 18.)

Time:  Started at 7:30 a.m. and ended 5:00 p.m. CST.

Number of Nets: 13

Weather conditions:

The morning started out at 35 degrees Fahrenheit but quickly warmed to about 70 by early afternoon.  The sky was clear and sunny with a light wind out of the south.

Special Notes:

Three White-throated Sparrows (which are migratory) were retrapped after having been banded two years ago by us.  They spend their summers in the boreal forests in Canada, so they had migrated between here and there twice since being banded.

A Golden-crowned Kinglet was sighted wearing a band.  Very likely it was banded by us the week before.

Whereas the week before we had witnessed very large numbers of snow geese flying south, we did not spot a single one on this day.  We speculate the wind from the south may have been a deterring factor, for they would not want to travel against it.  A north wind to their backs would be preferable.

List of New Birds Banded (35):

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)                   1
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)         3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)         7
Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata)        1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)       1
Fox sparrow (Passerella iliaca)                  5
Song sparrow (Melospira melodia)                 2
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  7
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)                 1
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)        7

List of Retraps (18):

Species

Band Number

Original Banding Date

Retrap Dates 
(not including 27-Nov-99)

Ruby-Crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

 2060-89624

 (11-20-99)

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

 4501-56055

 (01-10-98)

 11-20-99

"

 4501-56063

 (01-10-98)

"

 4501-56067

 (01-10-98)

"

 1541-85704

 (01-16-99)

"

 1541-85771

 (11-20-99)

"

 1541-85785

 (11-20-99)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

 8031-13241

 (10-18-97)

 04-04-98

 11-28-98

"

 8031-13252

 (10-18-97)

"

 8031-13293

 (01-10-98)

 01-31-98

 04-04-98

"

 8081-89108

 (12-26-98)

"

 8081-89130

 (09-25-99)

"

 8081-89131

 (09-25-99)

"

 8081-89162

 (10-16-99)

"

 8081-89166

 (11-20-99)

"

 8081-89167

 (11-20-99)

"

 8081-89173

 (10-20-99)

"

 8081-8918?

 (11-20-99) (last number on band was not readable)

Other birds observed, Saturday, November 27, 1999:

Gadwall duck (Anas strepera)                     7
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)                 3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)                  2
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)             1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)              2
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)          1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)                 1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)           16
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)         2  (Note: One of them was banded.)
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)                1

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)              8
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)
Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis)
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)         2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)            150+

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III. Saturday, November 20, 1999

Total Birds Caught:  54.  (New birds: 39.  Retraps: 15.)

Time:  Started at 7:30 a.m. and ended 3:30 p.m. CST.

Number of Nets:  11

Weather conditions:

A mild cold front had pushed through during the night dropping 0.6" of rain in the evening hours, and by day break we had clear sunny skies and a light north wind.  Lows were in the mid-40's and highs by afternoon were in the mid-60's.  The weather conditions prior to this day were extremely dry and warm, so the ground was very dry below the top layer of soil.

Special Notes:

We caught our first (female) Golden-crowned Kinglet, and it was a tiny thing weighing just 5.8 grams. Most of the white-eyed vireos have migrated south, however a few stay late or possibly year round, and we caught one of them.  Among our retraps was a Northern Cardinal (a resident bird) that we banded two years ago in November 1997 and a Song Sparrow (a migratory bird) that we banded three years ago in November 1996.  The Song Sparrow spends its summers breeding well north of this area, so the recapture of this particular bird (band # 1441-64523) is quite interesting in that it returns repeatedly to this very location having now been caught in four separate seasons!

The Snow Geese were traveling south in very large numbers far overhead.  All day long we watched waves of them pass by in "v"-formation.  Most of the geese were white but occasional blue ones could be seen.  Snow Geese spend their summers in the Arctic but travel to the Gulf Coast for the winter.

A dense black cloud of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles flew into the upper branches of a large pecan tree nearby that morning.  We guess it was a cloud of 200+ Red-wings and 50+ Common Grackles.  It is hard to guess their number when their black cloud is in motion.

Quite a few American Robins were also flocking. 

List of New Birds Banded (39):

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)                 1
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)                 1
White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)                 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)         1
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)         1
Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata)        1
Fox sparrow (Passerella iliaca)                  3
Swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)              2
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) 17
Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla)                 1
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)       10

List of Retraps (15):

Species

Band Number

Original Banding Date

Retrap Dates 
(not including 20-Nov-99)

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

 902-62962

 (10-16-99)

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

 1541-85705

 (01-16-99)

 04-03-99

  09-25-99

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

 1441-64523

 (11-02-96)

 01-10-98

 12-26-98

(Note: This migratory bird has now been caught four times in four different seasons!  It was banded three years ago.)

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

 4501-56055

 (01-10-98)

"

 4501-56058

 (01-10-98)

"

 4501-56126

 (02-14-98)

 12-26-98

(Note: This migratory bird has now been caught three times in three different seasons!)

"

 4501-56137

 (02-14-98)

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

 8031-13270

 (11-22-97)

"

 8081-89100

 (11-28-98)

 12-26-98

"

 8081-89112

 (01-16-99)

 04-03-99

"

 8081-89138

 (09-25-99)

"

 8081-89144

 (10-02-99)

"

 8081-89147

 (10-02-99)

"

 8081-89151

 (10-16-99)

"

 8081-89158

 (10-16-99)

Other birds observed, Saturday, November 20, 1999:

Snow goose (Chen caerulescens)                 300+
Gadwall duck (Anas strepera)                     3
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)                 3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)                  2
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus)
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)                   5
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)            7
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
Carolina Chickadee (Parus carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (Parus bicolor)
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)       4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)         3
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)     200+
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)             50+

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Reports compiled and written by Tom Walker.


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