- 12 February was a banner day for old birds at Hilton Pond Center. At noon we re-caught a red (i.e., adult male) Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) #2111-88193 in a pullstring platform feeder trap outside the kitchen window. This bird was originally captured on 15 February 1993--in the same trap--when it was a second-year bird of unknown sex. Curiously, we haven't seen this bird since, and it is now a NINTH-YEAR bird. According to the Bird Banding Lab, the longevity record for a Purple Finch is 11 years and 9 months. We don't know where this bird has been, but we'll bet he has some stories to tell. (Wonder how many sunflower seeds he's eaten since 1993?) If the trend continues, we expect to see him again on 9 February 2007!
- Later in the day we caught another old bird, this one a Purple Finch that was after-second-year in March 1995. That makes him an after-7th-year in 2000. We also re-caught these "old" American Goldfinches, Carduelis tristis, on 12 February: one 5th-year male, one after-4th-year female, two 4th-year females, and three 3rd-year females.
- HINT: It's a good idea to have all bluebird boxes cleaned out and in place by Valentine's Day (14 February) each year. Bluebird pairs investigate potential nesting cavities all winter long, but things start to get busy by late February--up to two months before the first eggs are typically laid.
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