Well done, eBirders! Reports of color-banded Gray Catbirds and Song Sparrows are now showing up regularly on checklists from the Buzzell Bridge Road and Mystery Trail areas of Union Village Dam in Thetford, Vermont. As we’ve written about many times already (here, here, and here), VCE is testing out a new citizen-science project in which we ask our great community of observant naturalists to record any sightings of our color-banded birds on eBird.
I’ve been reviewing eBird checklists from the area, and it looks like the first re-sighting of a color-marked bird came from Mary Waugh on this eBird checklist submitted on May 27th. Nice job, Mary! Jenn Megyesi missed being first by a day, but does get the award for first photo of a color-banded bird to accompany to an eBird checklist. Since then, Kathy Thompson, Catherine Hybels, Jeff MacQueen, and Susan Tiholiz have all added checklists with color-banded birds noted in the comment section.
Color-banded Gray Catbirds have been a bit slower to appear in eBird. Several of us observed a color-banded individual during a field workshop on June 5th (group checklist here), but it looks like the record for first independent observation goes to Kathy Thompson on this June 15th checklist. Why are Gray Catbirds apparently so much harder to resight? In the Upper Valley they nest later than Song Sparrows, and may very well still have eggs in the nest, so perhaps they are just a bit skulkier this time of year.
Even with these sightings, we have plenty of marked birds that no one has resighted. Are they still in the area? Let us know when you find them!