Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas Bling Comes Early

A Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) at the Francis Beidler Forest Audubon Center received some early Christmas bling when it blundered into a mist net (Disclaimer: "Bling" reference stolen from Bryce Donovan's article written on the subject).

We cannot really blame the bird for blundering into the mist net. Hermit Thrushes will defend their winter territory and we were playing a digital recording of a trash-talking Hermit Thrush. Much of the study related to birds occurs on the breeding territories or during migration and not on wintering territories. In our constant pursuit of knowledge, we would like to learn more about the birds that spend the winter with us. Do the same birds return to claim the same territory? Do males and females share a territory or do they operate independently and thus save on gift giving during the holiday season?

We could not indentify the sex of the Hermit Thrush we banded today as a brood patch is not evident in the non-breeding season, but we are curious as to whether the newly-aquired leg jewelry will cause any relationship bling envy.

Images by Mark Musselman

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