Questions and Answers about Welder

Questions from Kay Loughman with answers from Welder’s Selma Glasscock.

1. Who is running the banding operation, and what is it’s goal?

John Rappole is in charge of the banding operation. It’s goal is to band birds of the target species, i.e., those found occurring north of the breeding range as reported by Oberholser (1974) (candidates listed in Table 1 – see attached). Birds will be captured using mist nets placed at intervals near the attraction station. These nets will be 12 m in length x 2.6 m in height, and of variable mesh size according to the species targeted (24 mm for hummingbirds, 30 mm for warblers, buntings, and vireos, 36 mm for orioles, 61 mm for jays, and 121 mm for doves). Each captive will be weighed, sexed, aged, checked for molt and subcutaneous fat, checked for brood patch and cloacal protuberance, banded with a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service aluminum band, and given an individually-unique color-band sequence. This process of capture and banding of extra-limital species will be done throughout the Welder Wildlife Refuge as well as at selected sites beyond the refuge borders.

2. What species are being color-banded, and what do the color bands mean?

Any bird from a target species will be color banded. The color bands simply allow us to tell one individual from another.

3. How old is the Welder species checklist? Will our observations help them to update it?

The Welder checklist is revised as necessary. Yes, birders in the CONE project may help to update the list if they capture a species that has never been recorded on the refuge – or if they are capturing birds in seasons other than those in which it is listed. As far as the abundance indices on the checklist, there is less of a chance that their observations can affect change there because bird populations and abundances may vary dramaticallyfrom year to year.

4. Why is Welder still putting red food coloring in the hummer feeders? That practice went out with hummingbird research people decades ago!

Here is Dr. Rappole’s response to this question:
“The reasons that I have chosen to use red dye in the hummingbird feeders are as follows:
1. There are two species of hummingbirds that may occur at Welder as breeders that were not present as breeders 30 years ago: Black-chinned Hummingbird and Buff-bellied Hummingbird.
2. I wish to document their presence and seasonal persistence at Welder.
3. Red dye is highly attractive to hummingbirds, and I want any new birds to find the feeders as quickly as possible. As you say, once the birds know where the feed is, no dye is necessary. However, we do not know whether members of these species are present for days, weeks, or months at Welder, or if they are, whether or not they represent the same individuals.
4. There are no data to indicate that the red dye that is currently marketed is harmful to birds or any other vertebrate, including humans.”

5. When there’s a “mystery bird” at Welder, is there a local birder we can contact to check it out?

If John Callender wants to send me a photo of the bird directly, then I can take a quick look to see if it is identifiable from the photo. I really do not have time to go to the website and search for the images.

6. And by the same token, are there things the local folks might want us to watch for?

There may be from time to time and I can let John Callender know about these so he can post them.

9 Responses to “Questions and Answers about Welder”

  1. loughman1 says:

    Here are some questions I’d like to send to Welder:
    1. Can you turn the lights back on at night? They’ve been out since the Hurricane.
    2. Do you have a complete Welder Wildlife list (not just birds) which you could post for us?
    3. What is the snake seen at 5:37 pm on July 30?
    4. What are your earliest fall migrant passerines? Or, what can we be looking for in the next couple of weeks?

    If anyone else has questions, post them here and I’ll collect them for sending to Welder. KHL 7/30/08

  2. robin54 says:

    The Welder Checklist should be updated to include Black-crested Titmouse – B. atricristatus

  3. loughman1 says:

    We need a new panorama picture that reflects what the site looks like currently. Example #1, in the center back of the current picture, the bare tree lying down was planted in an upright position somewhat to the right quite awhile ago. Example #2, the “pond” in the center of the picture is now so overgrown with grasses, it’s barely visible. Example #3, the hummingbird feeders on the right are not where the current panorama shows them. The people who use CONE regularly know about these discrepancies; but new people are lost.

    We’ve been wondering about whether there are juvenile Green Jays. KHL looked at all the pictures, and wonders if some taken on 6/22 include a juvenile?

    The Welder checklist shows Mourning Dove as Common all year. In California they frequent see feeders, so we’d expect to see them regularly in our area at Welder. But we’ve seen hardly any. Are they elsewhere at the refuge, or simply not as common as we might expect?

    Can the feeding surfaces of the hummingbird feeders be cleaned more frequently? There are often so many bees, we know the hummers are staying away. Wouldn’t cleaner feeding surfaces be less attractive to bees?

  4. birdbrain says:

    A list of banding colors would provide more accurate posting. Or.. should we just indicate “Banded” in comments?

  5. birdbrain says:

    A list of banding colors would provide more accurate posting….
    it is often difficult to determine the band colors. Or… do you prefer that we just indicate “Banded” in comments?

  6. Rafa says:

    -Could somebody there provide a short description of the habitat where the camera is located? Welder is a big place with different habitats but we don’t know what’s around the camera location. This would help with identifications and also with understanding fauna behaviour. What’s around the cam? A river, houses, riparian forest?

    -Would you ever consider some changes in the furniture of the feeding station? Some easy changes would improve the place a good deal. Users could do a few good suggestions as after all these months of daily use they now better than anybody the pros and cons of every specific location. Some feeders are very difficult to focus and the continuous swaying doesn’t help either.
    The look of the feeders is not the best either; rusty nails, wires, empty pole, dirt, etc. The feeders is the first thing the new users see. This is an open window to the world and I’m afraid Welder and CONE project are not giving the best of the images.

    -Is there a chance to clean the camera dome from time to time? Moisture has collected insects and debris and all the surface is covered by cobwebs. Depending of angle and time of the day all this dirt is pretty visible and makes difficult to focus and impossible to get sharp pictures.

  7. loughman1 says:

    What is going on with the Green Jay (31319, 31321, 31323 and two more on Aug. 1) that is replacing rectrices? Is it a juvenile molting into adult plumage, an adult going through PreBasic molt, or is it just replacing feathers lost through some other way?

  8. tinyang says:

    Many CONE users really seem to enjoy the community aspect of the CONE Welder site. It appears that building upon that would being more success to the website and henceforth to the research for the project. There are some features we would either really like to see added to CONE Welder, or maybe even in a future instance of CONE.

    – A place to post and share links about birds

    – A chat archive, preferably with date and time stamps and it would be really cool if it was indexed and searchable. It seems the main reason CONE users are interested in this feature is because it would assist greatly in more accurate IDs for pictures of birds taken with the cam. When logged out, we miss all of the great conversation about pictures taken of birds and entering the site to come in half way through into a good conversation in the chat room about a cool picture taken of a mystery bird drives me nuts! Then I feel the need to ask other CONE users in the chat room what are they talking about, etc. This feature would be great because then I don’t have to stop the conversation to backtrack and such.

  9. Rafa says:

    One of the questions has already answer. This has been posted today on the Login Site:

    “The floodlight is not working. It is being repaired and should be working again by Aug 10!”

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