26 May 2009

More Nuclear Birds...(Navarre Marsh, Ohio): May 22, 2009

Just a few more shots from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory banding station the other day. The pair of Blackpoll Warblers are particularly interesting, as they are one of the marathon migrant songbird species that breed in the US and Canada and journey down to South America for the boreal winter. Each year they undergo a migration of around 12,000 miles, and in the fall they take a mammoth flight from the northeastern US and Canada over the sea all the way in a single mad flight to the north of South America. This takes around 80-90 hours non-stop, and in preparing for this they pack on the fat, swelling in body size so that they can almost double their usual 13g weight, at which time they reportedly can have difficulties completely closing their wings! A ridiculous but true natural story. These ones were looking a little trimmer as they do not need to body-build at this time of year quite so much, as their spring migration is a little less harrowing. The other one pictured is a male Wilson's Warbler sporing his distinctive black 'skull cap'.

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