April 5th – A Raw Day

The wind was blowing steadily most of the night and thoughout the morning, if anything, growing in intensity as the day progressed. This, combined with a temperature that hovered around 3 degrees and heavily overcast skies threatening rain/snow, did not auger well. Loretta and I decided that, since we were here, we might as well give it a try. So we opened most of the nets excepts 8 & 9 (the nets just above the river flats). We were pleasantly surprised to catch 36 birds during the 4 hours that we kept the nets open. [Usually we open for 6 hours but the growing wind was billowing the nets making further catching impractical if not dangerous for the birds.]

Despite the lousy conditions birds were on the move: I counted 3 early Common Loons on census; an American Woodcock was peenting just before dawn in the vicinity of net 6; and I saw a Greater Yellowlegs along the river. Also over the river was a group of at least 49 Tree Swallows – staying in the lee of the west bank and picking insects of the surface of the river. We also caught and banded 7 Golden-crowned Kinglets and 2 Brown Creepers. The number of kinglets banded today equalled the total number of them that we banded last Spring.

ASY Female American Goldfinch

An older (ASY) female American Goldfinch

One of the advantages of recapturing previously banded individuals is that you can get a good look at plumage variables, especially as they relate to age. Note the rounded outer rectrices and bold white tail patches on this bird – identifying it as an older or ASY female. Also note the rounded primary coverts and that their colour is similar to that of the secondary coverts – another age identifier.

Banded 19:
1 Mourning Dove
2 Brown Creepers
7 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 American Robins
4 Song Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Finch
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 17:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Black-capped Chickadee
7 American Tree Sparrows
2 Song Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 38 spp.


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