All of the occupied nest boxes had chicks that were still too young to band, but we noted how many young and eggs were present in each nest.
Although the chicks were still too small for banding, we were able to capture several of the adult females. Most of these birds were unbanded, so we took measurements and placed a band around each bird's leg.
When we pulled the last bird of the day out of the nest box, we realized that she had was already banded and had a patagial tag, a type of wing marker used to identify individual birds without having them in the hand.
It turns out that this bird was banded as a chick in Warren County, NJ last June! One other adult female kestrel we caught was previously banded at the same location in New Jersey, but did not have a wing tag.
Based on the age of the young kestrels we saw, banding will take place in just a few weeks! All in all, the grassland songbird species we found in the morning and the many young kestrels we saw are good signs of a healthy grassland habitat that is sure to bring more birds in the future as the habitat matures and improves.