45 birds searched today, but the low numbers of today and the last few days have nothing to do with low numbers caught, as we have had a marked increase in the number of birds in the garden lately. Rather, it is because most birds are caught in the first 3-4 rounds, and I simply don’t have enough jars to put birds in.
– I have five smaller jars (one of which I can’t get my hand inside, so if I ever get lice in it, I won’t be able to get the out!), four large ones, and two extra-large ones. I also only have four small collars, four medium-sized ones, and four that are disastrously large, and can probably (hopefully!) not be used on any bird known to man.
– The birds are fumigated for ten minutes (give or take). This means that during one net round, I can at the most search sixteen birds, but with cleaning the jars, searching the heads of the birds, and waiting for birds to be banded, I rarely get more than eight done in a net round.
After eight, the number of birds drop drastically, and most of the ones we get are recaptures that were banded within the last week. It is of course pointless to fumigate these again, as all the lice they had before will be gone, and they are unlikely to get new ones that quickly.
The first net round is at six these days, meaning that we generally get at the maximum five good rounds, and then some not-so-good ones, and thus 48 should be the average number of birds searched per day (plus whatever we catch after eight as well as in the afternoon), but the average is probably around 30 or so.
In any case, I did get lice from two new host species today:
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
As well as one unknown host (the louse was found on the bench).
New species searched during this trip was:
Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus