New Migratory Species banded at VMSP

By Veronica Mecko
Flowers of the natural area at Van Meter

State Park.
The number of birds caught and the diversity of species has increased the past week of fall migratory banding following a period of cooler weather with northern winds. On Sept. 7, a female Blackburnian Warbler was caught and banded at Van Meter State Park (VMSP), the first of this species banded by MRBO during any previous spring or fall migration.
Several other warbler species new for the season at VMSP are Black-and-white Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart.
Other early arrivals of migratory species at VMSP have been a Swainson’s Thrush caught and banded during the first week of banding and a Wood Thrush caught and banded before sunrise during the past week on one of the chilly, below 50-degree mornings.
The spotted and pale touch-me-nots are in full bloom at the marsh site which may be one reason why the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are so abundant. Despite the cooler than average temperatures for early September, the hummingbirds continue to be seen buzzing around the banding site and occasionally fly into the mist nets and then are released. Eastern wood pewees, yellow-billed cuckoos and several species of woodpeckers also continue to be observed and heard on a daily basis at the site.
Many species have been banded in the first three weeks of banding at VMSP including these species not already mentioned: Northern Cardinal, Eastern Wood Pewee, Traill’s Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, Gray Catbird, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Baltimore Oriole, Orchard Oriole, Downy Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
This week the Autonomous Recording Unit (ARU) was set up at the upland site at VMSP to record calls of migrants.
Banding began on August 30 at the site at Indian Foothills Park in Marshall. Species caught and banded the past two weeks at this site are Carolina Wren, Brown Thrasher, Swainson’s Thrush, Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, Northern Cardinal and Kentucky Warbler.
Barred owls have been frequently heard at the Foothills site and this week a mist net for owls was set up that can be opened during the early morning or at night.

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