April 29th – A Sweet Melody

Getting up early in the morning to open banding nets can be a daunting task. This morning though there was a wonderful reward awaiting the diligent one who was up and out of bed early. When I was opening the nets the full moon was bright in the dawn sky, there was a light frost on the nets, the wind was calm and all around was the sweet sound of White-throated Sparrows singing!

The two feeder nets were busy catching American Goldfinches in their bright breeding plumage and the ground traps were busy catching Brown-headed Cowbirds, Juncos, and Chipping Sparrows. The other outlying nets were not billowing in the wind today but there wasn’t a large number of birds caught. Even though there wasn’t the quantity, there was quality in the birds that were banded. There were White-throated Sparrows, a White-crowned Sparrow, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher!

The banding lab was busy when the two Kindergarten classes with a total of 58 students and the 11 adults squeezed into the station. The students showed an enthusiasm in seeing the birds and some even got to help release them. It’s a wonderful opportunity having the students at Ruthven and to open up their eyes and their interest to the ornithological world.

A final birding highlight occurred at the end of the day as I was sitting in the lab doing the paper work. Marilyn H. and I were in the banding lab talking, when I looked out the banding window and I said very quickly that there was a new bird in the distance and I had to take a better look at it. I grabbed my field glasses, I ran out of the banding lab and continued to run to the parking lot. Marilyn must have wondered ‘What is she doing’?. In the distance were two Sandhill Cranes flying in the blue sky. I called Dave Brewer and pointed them out to him and to Marilyn who was trailing after me.

Thanks to Christine Madliger and David Brewer for all of their help today and the imparting of their wisdom and their love of birds and banding to the students. Thanks to Carol Jones who helped out in the banding lab by learning how to scribe. Thanks Rick for doing the census today – where would this banding program be without you!?

Banded 29:
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
4 Chipping Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
7 White-throated Sparrow
1 White-crowned Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
3 Brown-headed Cowbird
10 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 26:
7 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
4 Slate-coloured Junco
5 Brown-headed Cowbird
8 American Goldfinch

ET’s : 51 species !! (Highest species total this year)


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