Warner Parks BIRD Banding: An Exciting Recapture!

Two Pine Siskins in the hands of BIRD researchers at the Warner Parks in November 2020.

Two years ago on November 10, 2020, our BIRD team had a very busy banding day. It was the end of our fall banding season, just 65 degrees outside, and we had low expectations of catching a lot of birds in that mild weather. Well, we were wrong!

We check the nets every 30 minutes starting at 8:30 AM. The first net run had a typical number of captures (less than 10), but on our 10 AM net run, we captured 19 birds – most of them from nets along Vaughn’s Creek. The net run at 11 AM was even busier with 53 birds captured! We were incredibly busy trying to weigh, measure, and band so many birds at once, so we called in our nature center staff reinforcements Vera, Rachel, and Melissa to assist (all licensed bird banders or experienced assistants). We finally made the decision to close our nets for the day with 86 total birds, including 59 American Goldfinches and 9 Pine Siskins – a great bird banding day for our station.

What we didn’t realize, was that one of the Pine Siskins we captured that day would ultimately be an important bird to us.

First Recorded Pine Siskin Recapture

We recently learned that Pine Siskin #2170-01776 from that busy November day in 2020 was recaptured at a banding station 600 miles north in Farwell, Michigan on May 16, 2022!

In Middle Tennessee, Pine Siskins are here in the winter but are considered irruptive, meaning they have irregular migration patterns depending on natural seed availability. If the cone crop in northern North America is low, they will irrupt or move further south for the winter. The fall of 2020 was a big irruption year with significant numbers of Pine Siskins moving into our area.  

This is the first time a Pine Siskin banded at our station has been recovered or recaptured outside of our banding area. This information will contribute to the broader understanding of migration movements and the importance of ensuring a high-quality habitat for migratory species.

We look forward to reporting on more insights and lessons learned,

Laura Cook & the Warner Park BIRD Team

The BIRD Program is funded by Friends of Warner Parks, in collaboration with Warner Park Nature Center and Nashville Metro Parks and Recreation. This year marks the 40th year of the WPNC Bird Banding Station thanks to our dedicated volunteers, staff, and partners! Please support our legacy bird research and public engagement programs with a donation, becoming a member, and volunteering with Warner Parks. #ProtectTheBirds #ProtectWarnerParks.

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