Barring any surprises, UIC should be the last banding of the season. We’ve banded 17 females and 18 males this season, which is a nice, big number. Population continues to be healthy. UIC was so late because the new adult female and male took the territory from the resident adults, Rosie and her unbanded mate, late in the season. Mary and I made a nest check shortly after the new birds laid eggs and were shocked to find a known Chicago adult female named Nitz had made the move to UIC after trying to nest in the Lawndale area for years and then disappearing altogether for a number of years after. I talked about it in an earlier post.
I didn’t get the adult male’s ID last trip out, so I was pretty excited to get another shot at it. We were met at the top floor by our good friend Judee and about a dozen others. I stayed at the back of the pack as Mary took the group to get a quick look at the nest ledge. I wanted to have room to shoot in case I saw the male in the air. I also wanted to be able to check out every window along the way, just in case. About half way to the nest ledge, there he was, sitting on a ledge about two sectors down from his chicks. I quietly dropped away from the group and started shooting. He revealed his legbands very quickly. His name is Mouse and he was born in 2008 at our Broadway site. He is tiny and very pretty, so I figured he was named because he was “tiny as a Mouse”.
There were four eggs originally laid, but only three hatched. This is common. Somewhere along the line, one of the chicks died, which also happens. So, we had two chicks to band — one male and one female. Mary had invited two interns from birds to come along, so we had some extra hands.
It all went very smoothly. When we got back to the museum, Mary told me that she’d actually named Mouse, the adult male. His siblings were named Whine and Sympathy. This absolutely triggered my memory. Mary wasn’t at that banding, so we reported on it when we got back that year. One chick, Whine, was a noisy little female who cried and bit during the entire banding. She was a handful. Her sister, Sympathy, wasn’t quite as noisy, but she was still full of gusto. Mouse was the only boy and he was a small one at that, so he was the tiniest little thing and also hardly made a peep during the whole process. I remember him clearly now. So cute. And he still is!