I have just finished sorting out the banding returns for the Banding Office for the year ending 31 March. Although down considerably from last year’s record numbers it was still a reasonable year.
The biggest change from last year is a big drop in both Silvereye and Greenfinch numbers partly offset by an increase in House Sparrows.
Species caught for the year in order from highest to lowest were –
No 1 Silvereye – The usual top spot holder although a big drop from 10/11 and well below the 6 year average. With the mild autumn and early winter along with an abundance of berries Silvereyes did not come to gardens and food tables until well into the winter, then after a couple of weeks they disappeared again. This corresponded with a large build of numbers on the western side of the
where they were feeding on a profusion of Karo flowers and where we caught comparatively high numbers at the Houghton Bay Stream. Also we did not have the big influx of Silvereye that we had the previous year. Houghton Valley
No 2 House Sparrow – Reclaiming the second spot back after a couple of years in third. Although numbers dropped off markedly in the autumn there appeared to have been very good breeding in the spring/summer months with the subsequent capture of large numbers of juveniles.
No 3 Greenfinch – Dropped a spot from the last 2 years and a big decrease from last year, not sure of the reason, perhaps a poor breeding season or, did the country birds not come to town?
No 4 Chaffinch – A record year since the banding year was changed 6 years ago with a lot of birds caught at our stream sites.
No 5 Blackbird – A slightly above average number.
No 6 Starling – Below the average for the previous 6 years but close to last year’s number.
No 7 Tui – Slightly down on the average but we haven’t put the effort into catching them that we did a few years ago.
No 8 Grey Warbler – A record number and the highest ranking ever with most caught at stream sites especially at
. Houghton Bay
No 9 Goldfinch – About an average year, there were large numbers feeding on
with Redpolls last winter but we were unsuccessful in catching many. Macalister Park
No 10 Dunnock – A noticeable reduction in numbers that appeared to be across all sites. Not sure why?
No 11 Fantail – A big reduction in numbers probably due to mortality during last winter’s snow.
No 12 Yellowhammer – another species with a big drop from the last 2 years. There were large numbers feeding on parks last winter but they were more mobile than usual and we were unable to catch many. The one semi successful session was at
Newtown Park but it was aborted when the footballers came out to practice. Phoenix
No 13 Kingfisher – very much a by-catch bird but nice when we get one.
No 14 Redpoll – Like Goldfinch large numbers over the winter on
but unable to catch them. Macalister Park
No 15 Song Thrush – with only one bird caught very disappointing, not sure why we don’t get more, there are a good number about.
Eastern Rosella - Although only 1 caught I expect to get more in the future with their spread about the city.
There was a big reduction in the number of birds recaptured especially with Silvereye, Greenfinch, Fantail, Dunnock and Blackbird. The first 4 corresponds with a drop in overall numbers but I am not sure about Blackbird.
Recoveries of dead birds were mostly similar to last year with Silvereyes being noticeably down due to a number recovered during the previous year’s big influx of birds.
Oldest Birds of each Species caught by the Group
Numbers in Red are birds recaptured/recovered during the last year. The Days column is the number of days between banding and recapture or recovery. The Est Age column is the estimated minimum age of the bird.
During the year we had 14 birds recaptured or recovered over 5 years from banding – 16 Silvereye, 2 Tui, 2 Starling, 2 Blackbird, 1 House Sparrow and 1 Chaffinch (the first Finch of any species we have recaptured over 5 years)