As usual, summer is a slower period at Powdermill and we reduce our banding effort. June is especially slow as most young have not fledged and adults spend most of their time within their territory. Captures pick up in July as fledglings gain independence, disperse from their natal areas and move around the landscape. One of the highlights of the summer was the capture of an ASY male Cerulean Warbler, which occurred during a field course that was being taught at Powdermill through Indiana University of Pennsylvania. After searching unsuccessfully for a Cerulean, the students were thrilled to get such an up close view of this colorful warbler.
This adult male Cerulean Warbler was 1 of 2 ceruleans captured this summer.
An adult male Eastern Bluebird. Although high numbers of bluebirds breed in the Ligonier Valley (including in nest boxes at Powdermill), we do not capture many of them at the banding lab.
An adult male Barn Swallow - always a handsome bird to view up close.
An adult (ASY) male Kentucky Warbler during the breeding season.
An unusual capture at Powdermill - a Chimney Swift.
We start capturing a lot of juvenile birds in early July. Here is a young (HY) female Downy Woodpecker. Hatching-year woodpeckers retain brown eyes, which change to red-brown or dark red as they age.
Birds begin to molt immediately after breeding, which gives them a "scruffy" appearance and inhibits flight. Here is an adult Kentucky Warbler in heavy molt.
Once the molt is completed, birds are in a fresh and more attractive plumage. Here is a Black-and-white Warbler that has recently completed its pre-basic molt.
This summer we seemed to capture a high number of individuals with avian pox.
Avian pox is a virus that affects many types of birds including songbirds, gamebirds, seabirds, and parrots. The disease is rare in waterfowl. Typical symptoms of pox are lesions on nonfeathered areas including the bill, around the eyes, and the feet and legs. The infection can be passed from bird to bird through direct contact or via mosquitoes. If an infected bird is captured at a banding station, anything coming in contact with the infection should be disinfected (banding pliers, bird bag...etc.).
Avian pox lesions on this cardinal's feet.
This HY Black-and-white Warbler had a deformed lower mandible, which caused the upper mandible to grow over the lower mandible. Although this bird appeared to be healthy at the time of banding, this deformity likely makes it more difficult for the bird to capture prey, which will likely lead to its demise.