Sunday, May 12, 2013

Prothonotary Warblers are back!

By Shirley Devan, CVWO Volunteer

Prothonotary Warblers are at back at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake, VA for the sixth year. This is one of the songbird research projects sponsored by CVWO. Brian Taber invited me to post info about this CVWO songbird project as the season progresses.

Prothonotary Warbler in photo is a recap banded originally in June 2009! She is incubating 5 eggs.

Under the supervision of Dr. Bob Reilly, CVWO’s Master Bander, Steve Living and I are monitoring these cavity-nesting birds again this year. Steve Living is a Terrestrial Biologist with the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. I am a CVWO Board Member and volunteer, Certified VA Master Naturalist and avid birder in Williamsburg Bird Club. Both of us are licensed to band songbirds as subpermittees working under Dr. Bob Reilly. Each of us relies on volunteers to help with the project.

We are monitoring 98 nest boxes again this year. This spring has been wet so the number of hours on the river monitoring the boxes is down. Still, the Prothonotary Warblers are building nests, laying eggs, and incubating because that’s what they do in May whether we’re watching or not.

May 10, 2013 – We checked 43 boxes, captured 8 incubating females and found 76 eggs.

The site fidelity of Prothonotary Warblers is astounding. These cavity-nesting warblers show remarkable “box fidelity” too.

One recap female was banded as an adult June 14, 2009. This year she is incubating 5 eggs in the box adjacent to where she was banded 4 years ago.

Another recap female was banded as an adult in June 2011, again at the box adjacent to where she was banded in 2011.

Three other recaps were banded as adults in 2012, at the same boxes where we captured them this year. We should find nestlings this week!

Prothonotary Warbler eggs are creamy white with dark brown spots or splotches.

Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Break in Migration

The recent cool spell, with northerly winds and rain, caused this Black Vulture, like other birds at College Creek Hawkwatch, to take a break...while waiting for more favorable flying conditions. This bird was on the river bank at the hawkwatch site...trying to look even more lovely by sitting in the buttercups...
Brian Taber