Fall Changes

UCMO students stand with a Black-billed Cuckoo
 at Van Meter State Park.

Leslie Bilbrey, Instructor of Biology, and about 20 students University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg visited MRBO’s fall migration banding site at Van Meter State Park (VMSP), Sunday, Oct. 2. The class observed the banding of the first, Fox Sparrow and White-breasted Nuthatch for the site as well as a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Brown Creeper, Gray Catbird, Downy Woodpecker and White-Throated Sparrow.
This array of birds shows the change in species being captured and banded at both VMSP and Indian Foothills Park (IFP) banding stations the past week. As most of the warbler migration has slowed and sparrows, kinglets and wrens are beginning to pass through. Both sites have banded Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Winter Wrens. The kinglets are heading for their winter home range from southern Missouri south to Mexico and the wrens winter in the southeast. Indian Foothills Park has seen a range of sparrows with Swamp Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow as well as White-throated Sparrows being banded in the past two weeks. These species of sparrows migrate to the southern U.S. and into Mexico.
Also at IFP, during a late afternoon and early evening banding run on Oct. 1, an American Woodcock was captured and banded and another woodcock escaped being captured a few days later. American Woodcocks breed in Missouri but usually winter only as far north as the southernmost part of Missouri.
Some warblers and other neo-tropical species were still being banded through the earlier part of the week. An Orange-crowned Warbler and a Chestnut-sided Warbler were banded on Tuesday at VMSP. Orange-crowned warblers are one of the last fall migrating warblers and are among the few warbler species that don’t fly all the way to Central or South America but make the southern region of the U.S. and Mexico their winter home. A Blue-headed Vireo was banded at IFP on Wednesday, a new species for that site. Blue-headed Vireos also spend the winter in the southern U.S. as well as Mexico.

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