Cardinal and Wrens: Feathered Captures

Conducting field work in Sherburne WMA (Wildlife Management Area) over the past year I have come to accept the odd captures in both the five gallon pitfall traps and wire funnel traps. The most interesting of these unexpected guests were not small mammals like mice, shrews, or even a baby armadillo (post coming soon!), but birds. Yes, I said birds. To date I have captured two species: the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) and the Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) in T1A Funnel Trap

Another Carolina Wren in a Funnel Trap

The Carolina Wren above was the first capture of its kind. On June 17, 2009 I was conducting my routine trap check and found this unexpected guest in trap T1A. Subsequently I have captured three other Carolina Wrens each in a different trap. The second capture (September 18th, 2009) was caught in T2D. This time I took a video of the capture and noted that this individual had damaged the section between its forehead and upper mandible.

As these these birds are full of energy and spend most of their time bouncing around on the forest floor it’s no surprise that as they tried to escape they damaged their beaks. Fortunately, there wasn’t  enough damage to cause serious injury. The final capture of Carolina Wrens came on September 24, 2009. This time two individuals were captured in a funnel trap (T2B). Both individuals had similar damage to their beaks and forehead as previous captures.

The second species: the Northern Cardinal, was caught today while  checking traps as usual. This time I found the bird along the third transect in drift fence array B. The male Cardinal must have ended up in the trap through its daily foraging on the ground. It’s not uncommon to see several individuals bouncing around in the underbrush and lower canopy.

Male Northern Cardinal in Funnel Trap

In addition, over the past months I have noticed numerous flocks of mixed species foraging along or just interior to the forest edge. These flocks consist of Northern Cardinals, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, White Throated Sparrows, and various warblers and vireos. Many times I have also seen large flocks of single species groups like the Northern Cardinal or other small passerines (sparrows, warblers, vireos).

As my field research is not finished I look forward to seeing what other interesting critters I’ll capture.

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~ by npvbroek on 02/26/2010.

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