Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Happy Tagging Anniversary for Ding #2!

October 17th 2015, marked the one-year tagging anniversary of Ding #2, a Reddish Egret on the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida. Ding #2, tracked with a satellite/GPS transmitter, has spent the entire year within 4 miles of his capture location, and over half of the time within 0.5 miles.

One year of movement data for Ding #2 showing high site fidelity.

He has been seen by various photographers and birders along Wildlife Drive and continues to take advantage of the abundant fish prey in the impoundments near the observation tower. Ding #2 energetically defends his foraging area by chasing off other Reddish Egrets that come too close.

Ding #2 forages in the tidal shallows of J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Ding #2 can be identified by the white feathers in his tail and wings. He is banded on the right leg, whereas Ding #1 is banded on the left leg.  

The other Reddish Egret tagged on the Refuge, Ding #1, also is seen regularly feeding near Wildlife Drive, although not usually in the same place and at the same time as Ding #2. However, In March and April, it appeared that Ding #1 and Ding #2 were nesting as a pair on a small island in Tarpon Bay, 3.5 miles to the east. 

Although the transmitter on Ding #1 shows signs of salt encrustation, it continues to broadcast strongly.  

We are grateful to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish and Willdife Service’s Division of Migratory Birds (Region 4), the Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society, the International Osprey Foundation, and Tom and Laura Hansen for supporting this pilot study. 

An additional, substantial contribution from the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society has made it possible to expand this project with three additional satellite-tracked birds and a concurrent study of the egrets’ fish prey. To begin, we are scouting new tagging locations in Lee, Charlotte and Collier counties in Florida. You can assist in this project by submitting Reddish Egret sightings from these three counties.  

Sightings report page: http://arcinst.org/report-sightings

Ding #2 (left) and Ding #1 (right) engaging in a courting or territorial display.

Keep an eye out for Reddish Egrets next time you are on Sanibel Island. The Refuge is a particularly easy and enjoyable place to watch these beautiful, entertaining wading birds.

A special thank you to Jim Bennight, volunteer at the Refuge, who has provided us with all of the photos for today's blog.