UMBEL 2016 Gray Catbird Project

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UMBEL 2016 Gray Catbird Project

July 26, 2016

The University of Montana's Bird Ecology Lab shares images and insights into 2016 Gray Catbird research.

The Catbird crew is back in action for the 2016 season. In June, we focused on target-netting and banding individual, adult Gray catbirds for tracking and monitoring. To date, we’ve captured and banded 34 new catbirds.

We set up mist-nets with speakers on both sides and play a variety of Catbird songs and calls to bring birds into the net (above). Below, an unsuspecting male Catbird checks out the scene and is lured in by our “intruding” male’s song.

The bird dives at the offensive speaker and is subsequently captured in the net (above) and then carefully extracted.

We process all captured catbirds, sexing them by looking for breeding characteristics and aging them based on distinguishable molt patterns. The bird below appears to be an older bird, exhibiting all fresh, grayish-blue feathers, without any brown (retained) feathers from its first year of life.

Each Catbird also receives a unique color combination on its legs, which identifies it from other individuals from afar. This enables us to follow and gather information on each bird throughout the breeding season.

 The birds resume territorial behavior and nesting activities upon release after processing.