The Ipswich are back!

1 10 2012

Each of the 44 Ipswich that got released with a VHF tracking tag also got a unique two colour combination of bands on its left leg. The right leg has a standard metal band with a unique number registered to the Canadian and US banding offices.

We returned to Sable Island at the end of August to deploy
transmitters on the Ipswich Sparrows.  This time around the weather
was great, it was hot and sunny every day and we managed to find time
for a couple swims in the ocean with the seals.  The Ipswich were
finishing their breeding season and they were everywhere.  It was
incredibly easy to capture this years chicks, they often started
flocking to the mist nets as we were setting them up.  The adults were
more weary of these strange new “perches” and we spent a lot of time
trying to figure out a plan of attack.  In the end we became expert
sparrow chasers and got 20 adults, but we were outsmarted by many

Blending in with its surrounding grasses, this Ipswich shows a white VHF tag on its back and red and yellow combination of bands on its leg.

We tagged 44 in total and banded them with unique color bands on their
left legs.  We are hoping to track their migration down the Eastern
coast of Nova Scotia this fall through radio telemetry and reports of
any sightings.  If you see any color banded Ipswich Sparrows, please
report the color combination or send a photo through this blog, or to
Zoe Crysler at  This will provide important
information on their movements for the project and improve it’s

Once again the work on Sable was a whirlwind of an adventure, but I’m
looking forward to finding out what these birds do once they leave for
the winter.

Zoe Crysler

Two banded and tagged Ipswich side by side. The bird on the left shows its white VHF tag for tracking their movements and the bird on the right shows off its yellow and green colour leg-bands.




One response

20 05 2013
Seasons of Colour on Sable | Sable Island Gulls

[…] been there in May and June for the spring nesting season of gulls and terns, in August to work with Ipswich sparrows before their fall migrations, and in January to download data from our tracking receivers.  Each […]

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