June Update: Bird Banding and Mountain Bluebird Nestbox Monitoring

June Update: Bird Banding and Mountain Bluebird Nestbox Monitoring

Hilary Turner | Nature Mapping Program Coordinator

MAPS Bird-Banding

Our MAPS bird-banding program is experiencing an eerily slow start to the 2021 banding year.

So far, we have captured 193 birds of 32 species. Of those 130 were newly banded, 47 were recaptures, and 16 left our hands unbanded.

Although we are only 7 species short of our total from last year, the overall numbers are fewer than in previous years. For example, on one morning we captured zero Yellow Warblers, which are typically our most numerous species (see what we banded in 2020).

This could be correlated with the mass die-off of migratory birds that occurred last fall in the southwest (https://www.audubon.org/news/the-southwest-facing-unprecedented-migratory-bird-die) and greater Western region.

We can’t say for sure what the cause is and we won’t know exactly how different this season was until we analyze our data. However, it has been interesting to experience what has seemed like an unusually slow spring migration and start to the breeding season.

Mountain Bluebird Nestbox Monitoring

Nature Mapping citizen scientists began another season of Mountain Bluebird nestbox monitoring on May 1st 2021. Our bluebird trail is comprised of 112 boxes mounted on the National Elk Refuge fence along Hwy 89. These boxes are monitored by 14 volunteers.

These hardy volunteers brave mud, ants, and empty nestboxes to ensure accurate and quality data collection along the bluebird trail. We are ever grateful for their good work!

This year, seven nestboxes have been occupied by Mountain Bluebirds and many more boxes are occupied by Tree Swallows and House Wrens. The first wave of bluebird nesting is almost over, but a couple bluebird pairs have already initiated new nesting attempts for their second broods.

JHWF is color-banding Mountain Bluebirds as a part of our effort to understand survivorship, dispersal, and site fidelity of the bluebirds in Jackson Hole.

This year we have banded 35 Mountain Bluebird nestlings and two adults that we caught opportunistically. We also color banded two Mountain Bluebird adults that we caught at our Boyles Hill MAPS banding station.

If you see a color-banded bluebird in or near Jackson, write down the color combination, note the location, and report the sighting to reportband.gov or Hilary@jhwildlife.org!

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