April 11th – When Theory and Practice Come Together

I love it when theory and practice come together. Why just yesterday I theorized that Common Loons would start showing up imminently. The scientific reason for this, if you recall, is that it just felt right – which is the scientific explanation I use to back up most of my theories. Further, I said that when they do show up it would be between 30 and 60 minutes after sunup. Well this morning the first Common Loon of the season went over, exactly 30 minutes after the sun cleared the horizon. It was heading NNW.

This was a much busier day than we’ve had for the past week – I handled 58 birds: 29 banded and 29 retraps. The ground traps were especially productive accounting for 23 of the total. In terms of firsts, we had the first White-throated Sparrow of the migration (as opposed to the one that stayed all Winter). Also, we had a very late (for Ruthven anyway) Rough-legged Hawk soar by -they’re usually long gone from the area by mid-March.

Some of the retraps were interesting:
I had 2 American Goldfinches one of which was banded as a young bird in November of 2005 (making it 5 yrs. old) and another banded as a young bird in August of 2004 (6 yrs old). Both birds were caught at the same time, in the same part of the same net! Makes you wonder if they had been travelling together. This is the first time both birds had been recaught. I wonder where they’ve been in the intervening time. I also had a Downy Woodpecker that was banded as a young bird in 2005 (5 yrs old); a Song Sparrow and a Northern Cardinal both banded as adults in the Summer of 2007 making them at least 4 years old.

Banded 29:
3 Mourning Doves
1 Tree Swallow
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robin
1 Chipping Sparrow
3 Song Sparrows
2 Swamp Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
6 Brown-headed Cowbirds
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 29:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Tree Swallow
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 American Robins
1 Northern Cardinal
3 American Tree Sparrows
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 House Finch
7 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 41 spp.


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