April 22nd – Are Things Heating Up?

You know, it’s kinda interesting. When you’re not directly involved in banding/handling the birds that come in, you lose sense of numbers. Now, I would have said that maybe, just maybe, we handled 30 birds today. But the reality was that we handled 59 (33 banded, 26 retrapped). So why the discrepancy? Well, maybe it was because we had guest celebrity-bander David Brewer out to help along with Christine Madliger and Christine’s fiance Chris. [Chris is a real success story in turning a non-birder away from the Dark Side – he’s becoming almost…enthusiastic…about it all.] And then we had a delightful class of Grade 4’s from St. Daniel’s in Hamilton out to see the banding program. And then, as if that wasn’t enough, we had returning visitor Carol Jones (from Caledonia) spend the whole morning observing and helping out. So David and Christine and Chris were VERY happy entertaining the students which left me with the job of doing the census with Carol and doing the odd net round to get birds out and back to the lab (as well as drink coffee, eat cake and scan the horizon for passing birds from my perch at the picnic table). So my tasks were much more leisurely and certainly less hectic – and this obviously affected my perception of what was really going on.

There weren’t a lot of new species around although I did see the first Osprey and Northern Rough-winged Swallows of the year. There was also a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and House Wren about with a couple of Ruby-crowned Kinglets but not much else to get the migratory pulse pumping. But….I think it’s coming and my prediction? Saturday. You can take that to the bank. (And of course you will remember my call on the first Common Loons of the year…….).

Thank goodness we have a good supply of ground traps. Over half of all the birds caught today (54%) were in traps. The nets were quite slow.

But if you’re just interested in ticking new birds off a list the place to go is Betsy Smith’s home just 1 km downriver on the other side of the river (when you go across the bridge leaving Cayuga, take the first right [NOT River Road] and drive to the last house. She reported a Red-headed Woodpecker there today. She would be delighted to see you and show it to you…..

And by the way, the weather station is working again. Technical support supervisor Pat Mousseau worked his magic and, presto, we get an accurate wind speed reading. [I think he changed the battery or something else of a very technical nature.]

Banded 33:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 European Starling
6 Chipping Sparrows
2 Field Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
3 Swamp Sparrows
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
5 Brown-headed Cowbirds
5 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 26:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Blue Jay
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse (with a ‘foreign’ band)
5 Chipping Sparrows
6 Song Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
4 Brown-headed Cowbirds
5 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 41 spp.


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