Saturday, August 01, 2009

Fire Line Birds

In the past couple weeks, there have been a number of interesting sightings along the fire lines behind the barn at the Audubon Center at Francis Beidler Forest. The early-successional upland forest continues to impress us with a high density of breeding Swainson’s (Limnothlypis swainsonii), Kentucky (Oporornis formosus), and Hooded (Wilsonia citrina) Warblers. During the past few weeks there have been sightings of early migrants or post-breeding dispersers:

Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla): Captured at banding station on 6/29/09.
American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla): Female or immature seen on 7/22/09.
Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus): Adult seen on 7/6/09 and 7/22/09.

We suspect that the Worm-eating Warbler may be breeding in or near the early-successional upland forest because it was in the same area this spring. Louisiana Waterthrushes have never been seen or heard during the breeding season at Beidler Forest. We suspect that American Redstarts breed in other parts of Beidler Forest, based on bird surveys, but have never seen or heard them during the breeding season anywhere near the fire lines.

We have also seen two species of birds in the early-successional upland forest that bred nearby in wetlands (Prothonotary Warblers) or mature forest (Wood Thrush) and then dispersed into the early-successional upland forest after breeding.

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea):

  • 1 adult male captured at banding station on 6/29/09.

  • Banded female, A063, was seen on 7/2/09 and 7/6/09.

  • Banded female, A002, was seen on 7/8/09.

  • Also, 5 - 10 unbanded Prothonotary Warblers have been observed using the early successional upland forest.

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina): 3 fledglings captured at banding station on 7/6/09.

Images by Jeff Mollenhauer

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