The first bird today was a ‘return’ yellow warbler, that records show we first banded on July 10, 2007. Yellow warblers most definitely do not winter here, so this bird has migrated south to probably Costa Rica or other parts of Central and South America. It made the return trip over the last few weeks and came back to the same field in our little corner of northwestern New Jersey. Pretty impressive by any standards.
Another return bird this morning was house wren, first banded on May 24, 2007. Same scenario – this little wren made it at least as far as Florida or along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico – and back to the same field here in NJ.
I think those of us who band or bird regularly take things for granted. We expect to see certain birds, and we do. It’s only when that bird is marked with the numbered leg band that we have proof positive that this is the same individual we saw last season. It really a mind-boggling idea, and one that continues to excite me every time I’m reminded of the tenacity and endurance of these tiny creatures.