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@ The Neotropical Oroithological Society

                    IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

                                                       Robert    L. Norton

                              961 Clopper          Rd. 81, Gaithersburg,     MD 20878, U.S.A.

Key words: Seiurus noveboracensis, Northern Waterthrush, site fidelity,          Virgin Islands.

Snow & Snow (1960), Schwartz (1964), and                             are available on intra-year site fidelity of banded
Rappole & Warner (1980) have discussedwinter                         hatch-year Seiurus noveboracensis on the win-
home ranges of the Neotropical migrant, North-                       tering grounds in the Greater Antilles (Faaborg
ern Waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis)with-                        & Winter 1979, 1980; Faaborg & Arendt 1984).
in the southern (Venezuela and Trinidad) and                         In this note I describe apparent territoriality of
western Caribbean (Mexico and Panama). Lciftin                       a single, banded hatch-year Northern Water-
( 1977) summarizes known captures and returns                        thrush on the Puerto Rico Platform shortly after
of this waterthrush in the American tropics and                      the period of arrival.
Rogers et al. (1982) discuss the repeat frequency                         During 15-21 September 1981, I attended
of 16 species of neotropical migrants in Guate-                      three mist nets located in a small, gallery forest
mala, including what they considered to be terri-                    behind the beach berm of Trunk Bay, St. John,
torial Northern Waterthrushes. Kricher & Davis                       U.S. Virgin Islands (18°20'N, 64°45'W). The
(1986) expand on the subject of winter site fidel-                   area is mostly shaded by the canopy, and the
ity of this waterthrush and eight other neotropi-                    ambient conditions are cooler and damper than
cal migrants in Belize. McNeil (1982) reports                        in scrub forest only meters away. On the morn-
 intra- and interannual recaptures of adult North-                   ing of 15 September, two waterthrushes were
 ern Waterthrushes in Venezuela. Rappole and                          captured in the lower trammel of one of the nets.
Warner ( 1976) also report territoriality of N orth-                  I briefly examined each bird for subcutaneous fat
 ern Waterthrush in southern Texas during                             and plumage characters to determine age-class
spnng.                                                                (North American Bird Banding Tech., vol 1.,
    Northern Waterthrush is an abundant winter                        revised 1980). Both were determined to be HY
visitor to the Caribbean (Pashley & Martin 1988)                      birds with little fat. I banded (Fish and Wildlife
and very common in the Virgin Islands (Raffaele                       Service; Nos. 73-34001 and 73-34002) each bird
1989, Askins et al. 1992) from early September to                     and releasedthem.
early May (Norton 1989), or about 240 days.                                On 16 November 1981, while mist-netting at
The Northern Waterthrush ranks as one of the                          the same location behind Trunk Bay, I discov-
most common migrants encountered on Christ-                           ered a waterthrush in the lower trammel of the
mas Bird Counts (Pashley 1988; pers. observ.).                        net lane. The bird was banded and bore the same
Habitat preference on St. John is primarily man-                      number 73-34001 as that given to a Northern
grove, lowland mesic, and scrub forest (Robert-                       Waterthrush 62 days earlier. This interval, or
son 1962, Askins et al. 1992). Elsewhere in the                       26% of the winter season, is comparable to that
West Indies, Diamond & Smith (1973) reported                           documented by Snow & Snow (1960) for inter-
a Northern Waterthrush returning to a winter                          vals equivalent to 22% and 57% of the winter se-
site in Jamaica the following year. Yet no reports                     ason in Trinidad (10°45'N, 61°35'W). Rogers


et al. (1982) considered Northern Waterthrush in        Faaborg, J., & J.E. Winters. 1980. More returns frorn
Guatemala to be territorial basedon recapture 33            the Guanica Forest, Puerto Rico. J. Field Ornithol.
days after initial n;tting. In northern South                51: 368.
                                                        Faaborg, J., & WJ. Arendt. 1984. Population sizes and
America and Trinidad, Northern Waterthrushes
                                                            phylopatry of winter resident warblers in Puerto
have shown fidelity to territories throughout the            Rico. J. Field Ornithol. 55: 376-378.
winter season (Schwartz 1964, Snow & Snow               Kricher, J.C., & W.E. Davis, Jr. 1986. Returns and
1960). Faaborg & Winters (1979: 216) s4ggest                 winter-site fidelity of North Arnerican rnigrants
that netting successdrops sharply after the first            banded in Belize, Central Arnerica. J. Field Orni-
day and that it indicates well defined home                  thol. 57: 48-52.
ranges of resident and winter resident birds.           Loftin, H. 1977. Returns and recoveries of banded
Northern Waterthrushes are considered solitary               North Arnerican birds in Panarna and the tropics.
in their wintering areas and both sexes defend               Bird-Banding 48: 253-258.
                                                        McNeil, R. 1982. Winter resident repeats and returns
separate territories (Rappole & Warner 1980).
                                                             of Austral and Boreal rnigrant birds banded in
    Evidence presented here from using similar               Venezuela. J. Field Ornithol. 53: 125-132.
techniques which provided comparable results,           Norton, R. L. 1989. Birds of St. John, USVI: A Nation-
albeit a single recapture, apparently represents             al Park checklist, 3rd ed. National Monurnents
territorial behavior by an immature migrant                  Assoc., Washington, D.C.
warbler from the eastern terminus of the Greater        Pashley, D. N. 1988. Warblers in the West Indies I. The
Antilles and servesto expand our understanding               Virgin Islands. Caribb. J. Sci. 24: 11-22.
of territoriality   throughout the region. It is        Pashley, D.N., & R.P. Martin. 1988. The contribution
                                                             of Christrnas Bird Counts to knowledge of the
hoped that a larger study could be undertaken to
                                                             winter distribution of rnigratory warblers in the
determine habitat use by both adult and imma-
                                                             neotropics. Arner. Birds 42: 1164-1176.
ture waterthrushes in the insular Caribbean.            Raffaele, H.A. 1989. A guide to the birds of Puerto
                                                             Rico and the Virgin Islands. Princeton.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS                                        Robertson, W. B. 1962. Observations on the birds of St.
                                                             John, Virgin Islands. Auk 79: 44-76.
I thank the staff of the Division of Fish and
                                                        Rogers, D. T., Jr., Hicks, D. L., Wischusen, E. W., &
Wildlife for their assistanceand cooperation, and
                                                             J.R. Parrish. 1982. Repeats, returns, and estirnated
the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Aid                flight ranges of sorne North Arnerican rnigrants in
program for logistic and fiscal support. The ms.              Guatemala. Bird-Banding 53: 133-138.
benefited greatly from discussions with David           Rappole, J.H., & D. W Warner. 1976. Relationships
Spector and Ian Warkentin.                                    between behavior, physiology and weather in avian
                                                              transients at a rnigration stopover site Oecologica
LITERATURE         CITED                                      26: 193-212.
                                                        Rappole, J.H., & D. W. Warner. 1980. Ecological
Askins, R.A., Ewert, D.N., & R.L. Norton. 1992.
                                                              aspects of rnigrant bird behavior in Veracruz,
    Abundance of wintering migrants in fragmented
                                                              Mexico. Pp 353-393 in A. Keast & E. S. Morton
    and continuous forests in the Virgin Islands. Pp.
                                                              (eds.). Migrant birds in the neotropics: Ecology,
     197-206 in J. Hagan, III & D. Johnston (eds.).
                                                              Behavior, Distribution and Conservation. Wash-
    Ecology and conservation of Neotropical migrant
                                                         ington, D.C.
    landbirds. Washington, D.C.                          Schwartz, P. 1964. The Northern Waterthrush in Vene-
Diamond, J.R., & R. W. Smith. 1973. Returns and
                                                              zuela. Living Bird 3: 169-184.
    survival of banded warblers wintering in Jamaica.
                                                         Snow, D. W., & B.K. Snow. 1960. Northern Water-
    Bird-Banding 44: 221-224.                                 thrushes returning to the sarne winter quarters in
Faaborg, J., & J.E. Winters. 1979. Winter resident
                                                               successivewinters. Auk 77: 351-352.
    returns and longevity and weights of Puerto Rican
    birds. Bird-Banding 50: 216-223.                    Accepted 9 March 1993.


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