A Black and White Warbler that had been caught and banded at the Manomet Center in 2003 was recaptured last week in Maryland.


Originally banded as a second year, the Warbler is now 11 years old.


“It is exceptionally unusual to recover a bird of this species at that age,” said Banding Director Trevor Lloyd-Evans.


The bird, recaptured at Washington College’s Chester River Field Research Station in Chesterfield, Maryland, was little more than a year shy of the species’ longevity record, which stands at 12 years and 3 months. Other warblers, such as the Black-throated Blue Warbler, have been recorded to live for as much as 10 years, but the hazards of yearly migrations usually prevent such lifespans.


Black and White Warblers spend their winters in Florida, the Caribbean, and northern South America, with the majority wintering near the Bahamas and coastal Mexico. They migrate north to breed in the United States and Canada for April through August.


The banding lab has caught an average of 41 during the spring season over the past 10 years. In 2003, the lab banded a particularly impressive 76. Five have been recaptured, including this month’s bird.


Despite an slow start to this year’s spring banding season, which runs from April 15th to June 15th, the number of birds caught has recently picked up. The lab banded around 200 birds on several separate days in mid-May, which typically only happens once or twice throughout a given spring.


As of May 16th, the lab has caught 807 new birds. Of these, the most common are the Gray Catbird (198 new catches), the White-throated Sparrow (87), and the Hermit Thrush (54). According to the banding crew, some of the more interesting birds caught this spring include the White-crowned Sparrow, a large sparrow species, and the Yellow-breasted Chat, a colorful but often overlooked large bird.


About 10 groups have come to visit the lab and learn about Manomet’s work with bird banding and its scientific importance. They include groups from schools such as Wheaton College, Roxbury and Fisher Community Colleges, Plymouth South High School and Manomet elementary school. The lab also held banding demonstrations for a group from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


“We have several more groups visiting in the next few weeks including classes from Manomet elementary,” said bander Evan Dalton. “We’re looking forward to seeing their smiling faces and teaching them about the natural world.”


-Gordon Bailey