April 14th – Birds Aren’t So Dumb…

Chris Harris with a male Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker.

The banding mantra includes the idea that the nets should be opened half an hour before sunrise, day in, day out. And that’s what we do: arrive early, and run around in the dark opening nets in order to meet this directive. Now sometimes this is a good thing to do as the birds are moving right away. This is certainly the case in the Fall. But in the early Spring when it’s cold and damp…hmmm…maybe not. Like this morning; we had a really good jump on the day only to find that a frost during the night had frozen the nets shut and had iced the poles so that, even if we had been able to get them open, they would have slid back down the poles. Very frustrating. But then, there wasn’t much bird activity to speak of. They really didn’t start to move until it warmed up. By far the vast majority of the birds we got were caught later in the morning. They aren’t so dumb…

There weren’t any ‘new’ species to speak of. Eleven Common Loons went over all within about 20 minutes of each other; and all were headed due north. They seem to have got it figured out. We also saw several flocks of Double-crested Cormorants migrating. They fly at quite a height in a ‘V’ but break this off occasionally to circle as they ride a thermal in order to gain more altitude before continuing – like raptors in this regard.

Banded 25:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Northern Flicker
1 European Starling
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 American Tree Sparrow
3 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
5 Dark-eyed Juncos
6 Brown-headed Cowbirds
5 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 19:
6 American Tree Sparrows
2 Chipping Sparrows
2 Field Sparrows
5 Song Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds

ET’s: 44 spp.


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