April 1st, 2008 – Start of Migration Monitoring at Ruthven

Pictures have been added to the March 29th post

The conditions for the start of migration monitoring did not look good – rain and high winds – but as it was the first day I decided NOT to roll over and go back to sleep but to see what the day would bring. Good thing too! I no sooner got the triple chain open at #4 then a flock of 10 Pileated Woodpeckers(!!!) flew into it. Now, these are nasty birds to extract – strong clutching feet (with very sharp claws) and vicious pointed beaks that constantly hammer away at your hands. I found that by putting a bird bag over their head and then gently hitting them with a hammer I was able to get them out with a minimum of trouble and pain to myself. Of course, after banding them they didn’t fly away so well and I was forced to help them with a strong throw into the underbrush……Now, I’d like to know at what exact point you began to think that this might be an April Fool’s ruse.

The reality was much less exciting: I arrived early; it was too windy to open; I set out a few traps; during a lull in the rain I did a census; after 3 hours and continuing rain I closed up and went home. No. of birds caught: 0.

Better days lie ahead of us.


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