Color-banded birds

Observers: Chris McCreedy/PRBO
Remote Name:
Date: 08/09/2005
Time: 08:42 PM -0400

This breeding season has run later than most, perhaps due to a greater abundance of food on the Eastern Sierra creeks. However, failed breeders and early breeders are beginning to vacate their territories on the Mono Lake tributaries. On Rush, Lee Vining, Mill, and Wilson Creeks, we color band Willow Flycatchers, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Song Sparrows, Yellow Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Warbling Vireos, and Spotted Towhees. As birds leave here, we expect them to move south through Mono and Inyo Counties. While it would be a shot in the dark, a positive re-sighting of one of our birds on migration would be quite a find, and we are grateful for any effort you may take in looking for banded birds in your neck of the desert. Luckily, most of the birds we band forage primarily in riparian habitats, which narrows the search. Color-banded birds' combinations are read from the bird's left leg to its right, and from its body to its toes. So, the Willow Flycatcher nestling in the picture has a combination of Silver (a FWS numbered band which is not visible) on the left, and Orange-White on the right (or S/OW). Other colors we use are: Red, Yellow, Blue, Black, Green, Mauve, and White. Brown-headed Cowbirds may have Dark or Light Blue bands, and it is important to note which shade of blue you may see on them. The Eastern Sierra is a great migration thruway, and other projects that color band birds, such as a Brown-headed Cowbird project at Mammoth and a House Wren project at SNARL, also may be sending birds your way. Thank you so much for your help, and please email any sightings to

Photo Chris McCreedy