April 24th – Spring Clean-up and Batting .500

It was Spring Clean-up Day at Ruthven today. Twice a year (Spring and Fall) board members, family members that they’re able to drag out for the occasion, and other volunteers descend on the place to rake up the winter’s fallen tree debris, clear the trails, pick up garbage, pull garlic mustard, cut grass, rake up said grass and then….have a delicious BBQ lunch. This is an especially difficult day for me as I have to manage both the banding program and the various work details. Of course I’d much rather be either banding or working hard but without sound management, central cohesion breaks down and we would be left with chaos. I am happy to say that I was able to prevent chaos from my perch at the picnic table just outside the banding lab. This spot is central to both endeavours and if I lean back and put my feet up I can keep an eye on things without too much difficulty. Also, it is in close proximity to the coffee urn and baked goodies so I was able to keep my strength up. All in all, this aspect of the day went extremely well and the grounds look wonderful once again. Thanks to the many participants for all their hard work. [One noticeable absentee though was board member Walter Peace. Walter is reknowned for his potato salad which further embellishes the BBQ. He didn’t show! Didn’t even profer an excuse. What is happening to honour and personal integrity!?]

You will remember a few days ago that I was right on calling the day and time of the showing of the first Common Loon. (Subsequently I have had many people contact me with regard to picking lottery ticket numbers….) More recently I was predicting that today would be the day when bird numbers and variety would turn around for the better. Well…..I was wrong and, thus, my prediction average has dropped to .500 – a pretty good batting average but not so good for lottery numbers. One could argue that all the people activity negatively impacted the bird activity but this wasn’t the case. There were few birds around even well before the clean-up volunteers arrived. In fact the capture rate of 11 birds per 100 net hours is VERY low indicating that they just weren’t around. But if they had been, we were ready for them: Christine Madliger, Faye Socholotiuk, Chris Harris (lately rescued from the non-birding Dark Side), and Oliver Love were in attendance and poised to take care of the banding (which they did anyway leaving me with pretty well just clean-up personnel management to do…).

Despite the above, we had 2 “new” birds around for the Season: Savannah Sparrow (which we banded) and Rusty Blackbird (which we didn’t).

Banded 20:Retrapped 16:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 House Wren
4 Chipping Sparrows
2 Song Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 44 spp.


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