I have some interesting things to share...you may recall that I wrote about discovering a chick at banding time that was crawling with black flies...a few days later that nest was minus one chick so we assumed that the chick had jumped prematurely to escape the black flies. Now that the chicks on that nest are flying I was able to read bands and lo and behold, the chick that had black flies all over it, is fine and has fledged successfully! So, once again the lesson is that you cannot jump to conclusions in scientific research...you have to seek the facts and refrain from putting together a story in your head. Figuring out the puzzle sometimes takes time and requires effort to be sure we have the facts right. Another chick that had black flies and many bites at banding time, is also fine and has fledged successfully. So I don't think we can attribute the increased mortality rate this year to black flies. However, I do believe it was a factor in the arboretum cam chicks fatal jump from its nest.
I have been busy trying to determine if chicks have fledged successfully...visiting nests and searching for chicks that have fledged, trying to account for as many as I can. This too, is time consuming...but known outcomes are important. It's a great feeling when I can see all chicks flying and returning to the nest to eat. Of course they can still get into trouble away from the nest...so keep watching and listening!