Bird Band Mystery Solved!

Remember this from last August?

Dead Bird

I had found this skeleton in the Girl Scout Gravel Pit in Randolph, New York.  I wrote about it here: .  I entered the band number into the appropriate database and never heard back…

Until today… I got the email about where it was originally banded!

Bird Band Certificate

It was banded 11 miles south of Nanticoke, Ontario in Canada.  According to Mapquest, to drive this distance would be 151 miles and would take 3 and a quarter hours.  I suspect the bird flew over Lake Erie and who knows how long that took??

Cowbird Map

Female Brownheaded Cowbird by makeupanidMy bird was a female Brown-headed Cowbird, hatched in 2006 or earlier.  It was banded on April 27, 2007 and retrieved from the Gravel Pit by me on July 24, 2007.

Brown-headed Cowbirds are very interesting birds.  They never raise their own young.  Instead, they lay eggs in the nests of other birds and let them raise the babies for them.

Learn more at Cornell’s website:

9 thoughts on “Bird Band Mystery Solved!

  1. Yeah! It is so wonderful hearing about this being a Cowbird! I don’t think we ever discussed this being a cowbird? Did we? Anyways . . such a great thing for sure and how amazing to be part of science! Thanks for the update!

  2. That’s so neat! And banded at Long Point! My niece was working there a lot this summer boy they sure band a lot of birds there. Thanks for using my photo.

  3. Jennifer- Great story, bird banding is so fascinating, and it seems that more and more people are getting into it. Which website did you use to enter the information about your band? Do you know if you can tell anything by just looking at the color pattern of a bird’s bands?


  4. How interesting. I seldom admire Cowbirds, but they are abundant and native even though their nesting habits are not socially acceptable to most of us. I was in this part of Ontario in August. It is about 90 minutes from our home.

  5. Cool that you finally know what it was! Cowbirds are very interesting indeed, if much-maligned. It’s thought that nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds is responsible for the loss of the Yellow Warbler as a nesting bird in the SF Bay Area (we see lots of them, but they no longer nest here).

  6. It is so exciting when you find out something interesting about a bird with a band on it. I remeber over the summmer at our SWAT banding station we thought we caught a Song sparrow from a different banding station. But it was alive not dead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s