April 10th & 11th – Pulses

A lovely surprise: female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. -SGS

Although the last two days presented beautiful weather, the bird activity was very different between them. Yesterday (10th) the field edge didn’t feel “busy” and there didn’t seem to be many birds around. Whereas today sparrows festooned the edges and there was an interesting variety about including some seasonal firsts: Ring-necked Duck, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Chipping Sparrow. Migration isn’t a smooth flow. Birds move in “pulses” taking advantage of weather conditions that will make their travels easier or sitting out less advantageous conditions. I think the wind shifting to the SW during the night can account for today’s results.

A crude attempt to mark a bird for future identification?? -SGS

We caught the above Blue Jay in net 1. The crude band – a thick plastic zip tie cut off at the lock -was caught in the fine mesh. Note that whoever applied it had caught the rear toe (hallux) inside the band. We were able to cut it off. We were quite concerned that the hallux may have been damaged but slowly the bird began to flex it and we were relieved when he grabbed hold of a finger…ouch! The bird seemed to be in good shape without any loss of muscle mass due to the impediment. They’re tough birds!
April 10th; Banded 16:
1 European Starling
2 American Goldfinches
12 American Tree Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco

Species Count: 35

April 11th; Banded 27:
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1 Blue Jay
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets

Golden-crowned Kinglets have been around for the last couple of days but up high. Two females came down closer to the undergrowth and were captured. -DOL

1 Eastern Bluebird

Female Bluebird. Two pairs have been checking out the boxes. -SGS

5 American Goldfinches

Two handfuls of gold…finches. they are just starting to show up now. -SGS

10 American Tree Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrow – note the rusty wings. -SGS

1 Red-winged Blackbird

Brilliant SY male. -ELO

1 Common Grackle

This bird looks fierce from any angle. Males weigh considerable more than a Saw-whet Owl. -ELO

We retrapped 19 birds including a pair of American Robins; check out the plumage differences:

Male (left) and female American Robins. -SGS

Species Count: 44

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