Posted by: atowhee | September 26, 2021


Today I got to watch a bird banding station at work in the Luckiamute Natural Area between Albany and Independence, Oregon. I was there for the releasing of fifteen birds from six species. It was towhee day–six Spotted Towhees were captutred and examined, five Swainson’s Thrushes (still on migration). There was one newly arrived Ruby-crowned Kinglet, plus an individual each of White-crowned Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee and Hutton’s Vireo. The last was a lifer for one person present.

The forest where the mist nets are placed is onky seven years old but it contains a fine riparian forest regrowing and wide variety of fruit-bearing shrubs. The resident towhees and abundance of Swainson’s* Thrushes can attest to that. Some of the thrushes are likely from far points of their breeding range,

Here are two sub-species of Swainson’s Thrush, side-by-side. A smaller and paler version is on the right in the facing shot, on the left in image of the two backs. It is likley the smaller and grayer bird comes from a part of the species’ range that is colder/dryer than the more richly colored, heftier bird:

Some further notes: the kinglet weighed less than half an ounce! Eight would weight less than a stick of butter, two could fly for a first class stamp but the post office would want them taped together. The Spotted Towhees–not having to migrate–weighed a bit more than the thrushes (who must make it thousands of miles). The Hutton’s Vireo was adult and already banded, having been netted on May 2 at nearly the same location both times. Up close this vireo species has blue-gray legs and feet while the wannabe lookalike kingket has yellow legs.

Luckiamute SNA North unit (general), Polk, Oregon, US
Sep 26, 2021 7:20 AM – 10:20 AM
Checklist Comments:     attended a USGS sponsored bird-banding session
13 species

Canada Goose  X
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  1
Hutton’s Vireo  1
Steller’s Jay  X
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Swainson’s Thrush  5
American Robin  X
White-crowned Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  6

For informantion on Luckiamute#, tributary of the Willamette, click here.

#The Luckiamute tribe belonged to the Calapooya dialectic division of the Kalapooian linguistic stock. Most of the present-day tribe members now live at Grand Ronde.

*Named for Willam Swainson (1789-1855), a leading British ornithologist of his generation thiough he never came to North America.


  1. A very successful bird banding station – are there any more scheduled for this fall?

    • not that I know of…the Luckiamute Watershed Council would know if there are

  2. […] September–Banding Swainson’s Thrushes (and others) at Luckiamute, click here. […]

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