September 01, 2022

Most scientific discoveries take teamwork and that’s certainly true for what we have learned about this now 9+ year old male prairie warbler, recently photographed by Volunteer Naturalist Allen Landes.

By Neil Gifford, Conservation Director

The bird was initially banded in July 2014, by NYSDEC Wildlife Biologist Brianna Denoncour, at our breeding-season banding station in the King’s Road Barrens (KRB). She determined he hatched in 2013.

The bird was subsequently recaptured there in June 2016 by Field Ecologist & Entomologist, Amanda Dillon, as part of our prairie warbler migration research using geolocators, and fitted with this unique combination of colored leg bands. Although he did not get a geolocator, he was part of the control group that helped us assess the effects of the device.

He was again recaptured in May 2017 in the Madison Avenue Pinelands by Conservation Director Neil Gifford, who along with Conservation Biologist Steve Campbell, collected blood, feather and claw samples, used to assess the quality of its winter habitat.

The bird was recaptured again in July 2018, at the KRB banding station by Steve Campbell.

He had not been observed since until Allen snapped this fabulous August 2022 photograph in the Madison Avenue Pinelands. It is simply stunning to think about the things this little 8-gram bird has experienced during his nine 4,000-mile round trips between the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and the island of Hispaniola. The science staff are grateful for Allen’s time and his camera skills, which documented the continued survival of this extraordinary summer resident of our globally rare inland pine barrens and National Natural Landmark. According to the USGS he is now one of the 4 oldest documented prairie warblers in the USA.



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