April 28th – June Bugs in April!?

The hot (for April) temperatures have been bringing out more than the birds. I saw a couple of June Bugs this morning – they’re a real pain when they get caught up in the nets. And….drum roll…..I was pestered by the first mosquito of the year. Just the harbinger of what’s on the way. I don’t think there’s any better time at Ruthven than pre-mosquito Spring. You can stroll leisurely along the trails taking in the wildflowers and the birds, soaking up the growing warmth of the sun, while listening to the frog chorus. But when the mozzies arrive, this disappears. Sure, the elements are the same and all there – but you can’t take your time and enjoy them. Usually they don’t become a nuisance until the end of May but unless we get a cold snap, they’ll be here en masse much sooner.

It was a busy morning. At opening time (around 5:30 at the moment….but getting earlier), there was little cloud cover and many birds singing along the edges; especially White-throated Sparrows. But cloud began to move in quickly – the sort of conditions that brings migration to a halt and the birds down to earth. At 9:30 it began to rain and we started to close nets. But we had captured quite a few by then. I left #1 net (by the banding lab feeders) open as I could easily monitor it and take any birds out if it quickly. Good thing as finches were piling up in it.

We are chasing a record at the moment: the most birds banded in April was 685 in 2007 (followed by 670 in 2006 and 597 in 1999). Despite being forced to miss several days due to rain and/or high winds we are sitting at 676 with 2 days still to go. The 700 barrier is set to fall! Top 3 banded so far: American Goldfinch (219), Dark-eyed Junco (92), and White-throated Sparrow (70).

Throughout the morning Eastern Tufted Titmice were calling as well as an Eastern Towhee, Wood Thrush and a couple of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Later, a brilliant Northern Oriole came by to see what was going on.

Banded 71
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Gray Catbird
1 Yellow Warbler
4 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
3 Swamp Sparrows
31 White-throated Sparrows
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Purple Finch
10 Pine Siskins
16 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 15:
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Blue Jay
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 House Wren
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Yellow Warblers (both banded as adults in May 2006 – so at least 4 years old)
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrows
1 Purple Finch
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 44 spp


Leave a Reply