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Chestertown, MD, United States

Anthony T.,Missouri State University | Gill D.E.,University of Maryland University College | Gill D.E.,Chester River Field Research Center | Small D.M.,Chester River Field Research Center | And 2 more authors.
Wilson Journal of Ornithology

Little is known about the post-fledging period in most bird species, and almost nothing has been reported for the family Emberizidae, including New World sparrows. We report here, for the first time, the sizes (wing length and body weight) of, and the distances traveled by fledgling Grasshopper Sparrows within their hatch summer in a restored Atlantic Coastal grassland in Maryland. In the years 2002-2009, we recaptured 24.3% of the 799 banded nestlings in the grasslands at least once within their hatch year. Body weight was not correlated with wing length, wing length did not change with time of recapture, and the average fledgling gained weight by 14% in 100 days. Smaller than average birds were missing from late summer recaptures. As expected, the distance traveled increased significantly with time, but the average fledgling was recaptured 346 m from its nest. The average time of recapture was 33 days after fledging; the youngest recapture was 5 days after fledging and it dispersed a net 580 m from its nest; the longest and fastest distance recorded was 1,615 m from the natal nest in no more than 20 days; the longest recorded retention was 97 days by a local that moved a net distance of 753 m. We conclude that most fledglings in this population of Grasshopper Sparrows remain within their natal habitat for most of the months prior to their pre-formative molt, and that at least 1:4 of them survive at remarkably high rates. © 2013 by the Wilson Ornithological Society. Source

Small D.M.,Chester River Field Research Center | Gimpel M.E.,Chester River Field Research Center | Gill D.E.,University of Maryland University College
Northeastern Naturalist

Spiza americana (Dickcissel) colonized a restored Conservation Reserve Program grassland in Maryland during the second year of restoration and has continued to return in subsequent years. In 20002010, we banded 125 adult and hatch-year birds; during this period the population ranged annually from one to 16 individuals. Twenty-one percent of adult male Dickcissels (n = 38) returned in a subsequent nesting season, 30% of adult females (n = 20) returned, and 1.7% (n = 67) of the banded hatch-year individuals returned. A female Dickcissel returned to these grasslands after being banded as a nestling the previous year; this bird is the first nestling Dickcissel ever to be re-sighted in a subsequent year across this species range. This same female Dickcissel nested an average of 196.5 m (range = 84297 m) from her natal site over four breeding seasons, and now holds the longevity record (4 yrs, 11 months) for the species; she also became the first known female Dickcissel to return to a breeding site in Maryland. At our study site, whether adult Dickcissels returned the following summer was not related to their nesting experience (success or failure) the previous year. However, males that were unsuccessful in procuring mates often did not return the following year, and females returned at a greater rate than males. Source

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