Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow

Monday, 13 August 2012

Zoo - Saturday 11 August

We had a very successful workshop on aging and sexing passerines at a banding session at the Zoo on Saturday with Mike Bell and his daughter Conori over from Blenheim to assist us. 
Most of  "The Team"

The number of birds caught was a bit lower than I would expect at this time of the year but this was ideal for the workshop with no pressure and the time to look closely at various features. The number of species was also lower than usual but once again this enabled us to concentrate on a few rather than getting confused with a big variety.

In all we caught 61 birds of 6 species with 24 new birds and 37 recaptures; the ratio of recaps to new birds is surprising as it is usually the other way around.
Species caught were – (recaps in brackets)
Blackbird – 1 (2) the new bird was a first year Male with some unusual wing features with broken wing feathers and P3 replaced, there is also a growth/fault bar across the wings at the break point.
1st year (1) Male Blackbird 
1 of the recaps was banded as a Juv in March 09 and had an unusually shaped bill.

Male Blackbird with unusual bill

The other was banded as an Adult on 12 Aug 2006 1 day short of 6 years ago which makes it an 8+ bird. It was almost the last bird caught for the day and was caught at the same net site as the original capture. This is the first recapture so where has it been for 6 years?

Greenfinch – 12 (2) numbers are way down on recent years.
Two male Greenfinch, the older on the bottom

House Sparrow – 3 (5) most unusual to have more recaps than new birds but a new net position had an effect - probably won’t work next time?
Silvereye – 3 (26) an incredible recapture rate, I think we must have most of the resident birds banded and that there has been no influx of new birds this year. Most of the recaps were banded in the last couple of years but there were 2 from 2010 and 1 from 09 with another banded at Houghton Bay in Sept 2011.
Dunnock – 4 (2) I think 6 is the highest number we have caught at the Zoo in one day. The 2 recaps were both banded as Juveniles last spring.
Starling – 1 (0)

There were no Tui caught which was surprising as there are a large number in the Zoo grounds at present, mostly feeding in the red flowered gum tree. But we did actually band one which is in rehab at the "Nest" (The Zoo animal hospital) and is nearly ready for release.

There were signs of the (hopefully) approaching spring around the Zoo.  A pair of Fantails are nest building (the female is banded and just missed a net a couple of times), the Kea were seen mating in their cage much to the amusement of watching kids and Tui were also doing the business. 

The odd coloured Tui that has been at Berhampore for the last couple of weeks is still there and I managed to get a rough photo of it.

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