When you are working with a population of color-banded birds, unbanded individuals can be a bit of a sore point. This was especially true this summer for a certain unbanded dull bird that was frequently seen with one of our bright males, WEE (so named because of his white and emerald color bands). Here is the fairy-wren gossip in short: WEE and his parter FWF frequently hung out with an unbanded bird at the start of the dry season, until midway through when WEE and FWF divorced and she started hanging out with another dull male, YAF. WEE continued to hang out with the unbanded individual, but despite frequent observations, we could not say for sure that we were seeing the same individual time after time. In days spent trying to catch and band this individual, he/she flew up, over, around, and maybe even through the net! We were particularly anxious to catch this bird so that when we return in the breeding season we will know if they are still hanging out. Was this unbanded bird the offspring of WEE and FWF or a competing female??
Needless to say, I am happy to announce that the last wren caught this season was WEE’s unbanded friend, now sporting light blue, white, and yellow colorbands. Stay tuned to the blog to see who’s hanging out with who in December!
UPDATE: BWY is a female!….will she be paired with WEE in this coming breeding season, or is she his daughter about to disperse??