THIS WEEK at HILTON POND
All photos & text © Hilton Pond Center
Hilton Pond Center:
It Could Have Been Better
The first bird captured at Hilton Pond Center was a female Common Grackle banded on 28 June 1982. Since then, as local habitat has changed from open field to young woodland, we have continued to monitor on-site bird populations by banding on a year-round basis. As the clock struck midnight on 31 December 2001, we had banded 39,719 birds from 123 species, continuing Hilton Pond Center's reputation as the most active long-term bird banding site in the Carolinas.
Banding totals for 2001 were quite disappointing. The just-completed banding year was far below average, with only 1,436 individuals captured (20-year average is 1,986); 79 species were banded (20-year average is 71.5). Numbers would have been higher had not spring and fall migrations been almost nonexistent; as happened in 2000, fall migration was especially poor because of the lack of weather fronts in late September and early October. And, to make matters worse, we only captured two Purple Finches during the entire 12-month span, one in late March and the other in mid December; in normal years, this species makes up 10-25% of the totals. We averaged averaged less than four birds per banding day for the year, compared to an average of nearly seven birds per day over 20 years of banding.
The only species new to Hilton Pond Center in 2001 was a long-awaited Rufous Hummingbird (top photo), one of several vagrant hummers that showed up in York County, South Carolina, after the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds departed in October.
One of the "most unusual" birds banded was a Northern Saw-whet Owl (right); only 14 have ever been banded in South Carolina--nine of them at Hilton Pond Center.
A new record high was set for only two species: 32 Eastern Bluebirds (old record of 23), two White- breasted Nuthatches (old record of one). Three other low-number species did tie old records: six Great Crested Flycatchers; one Nashville Warbler; and one Winter Wren. The 168 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds banded in 2001 were somewhat lower than the recent trend of 180-plus birds per season but still above the 129-bird average. Less than 20 species either tied or exceeded the 20-year average.
All 123 species that have been banded at Hilton Pond Center are listed below, with numbers of individuals banded in 2001.
Click here for comprehensive 20-year totals (mid-1982 through 2001).
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|Flicker, Northern (Yel.-shafted)||0|
|Junco, Dark-eyed (Slate-colored)||10|
|Oriole, Northern (Baltimore)||0|
|Owl, N. Saw-whet||1|
|Pewee, E. Wood-||2|
|Warbler, Black-thr. Blue||8|
|Warbler, Black-thr. Green||1|
|Warbler, Cape May||0|
|Warbler, Palm (yel. race)||2|
|Warbler, Parula (N. Parula)||1|
|Warbler, Yellow-rumped (Myrtle)||91|
SPECIES BANDED THIS WEEK
WEEKLY BANDING TOTAL
YEARLY BANDING TOTAL
BANDING GRAND TOTAL
(since 28 June 1982)
Rufous Hummingbird banded on 31 Dec at Gastonia NC
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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this Web site--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.