[CT Birds] western birds in the East

Greg Hanisek ghanisek at rep-am.com
Fri Nov 18 21:49:48 EST 2011

Over the years I've developed a growing curiosity about the western element in fall migration through Connecticut. There's no question about its presence. As a regular hawk watch participant at Lighthouse Point I see first hand the Dickcissels and Red-headed Woodpeckers that clearly aren't coming from due north or northeast, based on their breeding ranges. That has led me to wonder about the western element in more wide-ranging birds, such as Red-tailed Hawks and Bobolinks. 

That's why I was interested to read an article on Bobolinks in the recent issue of Field Notes from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. The article described a project in which Bobolinks from variouis parts of the species' range were fitted with geolocators, devices that can provide precise information on where the birds have been from North Amrican breeding spots to wintering grounds in South America.

Of special interest was recovery of fitted birds that nested in Oregon. The article said, "Contrary to expectation, Bobolinks from Oregon headed east in the fall and then followed traditional routes of eastern populations, although the annual occurrence of Boboilinks in the Galapagos suggests that some birds take an alternate, western route."

Greg Hanisek

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