April 6th, 2006

Ruthven – Banding report, and retraps

There was almost complete cloud cover at dawn except for a sliver of orange-gold on the eastern horizon. When the sun shone through this gap it bathed the historic mansion (at Ruthven) in golden light. The cloud quickly moved off the the south though by 8:00, and the rest of the morning was cloudless with light NW winds. The sort of day when you start looking for that first Common Loon of the year, winging its way north to pristine boreal lakes. There were lots of Golden-crowned Kinglets around – we banded 15 but estimated there were at least 35 sround the site (sort of like being at Selkirk).

We banded 40 birds (which is a pretty respectable number for this time of year): 1 TRES, 15 GCKI, 2 ATSP, 2 SOSP, 7 SCJU, 2 BHCO, 11 AMGO.

We also retrapped 21 birds. At this time of year I find these almost as interesting as ‘new’ birds since many of them are returnees from last year or even earlier.
For example:

  • We had an American Goldfinch that had been banded last April and not encountered since.
  • Two American Tree Sparrows – 1 banded last April and 1 in February of 2003 (some of these birds are pretty faithful to Ruthven as a wintering site).
  • 3 Song Sparrows – all first year birds from the Fall of 2005.
  • 1 Downy Woodpecker banded last August, and
  • An American Robin from last July.

On the day we encountered 36 species, including an Eastern Phoebe calling deep in the woods south of the cemetery and the first White-throated Sparrow of the migration.



A fairly nice sunny day with a bit of a breeze off the lake keeping temps down (lake effect). As often is the case with nice weather, no birds moved in over night while those present on Wednesday for the most part moved on–making for slim pickings.

Banded: BCCH 1, GCKI 3, NOCA 1, ATSP 2, SOSP 1, SCJU 3, AMGO 2 = 13.

This is actually better than the long time average for days at this time of the year. This is the 11th spring for banding at Selkirk. While the number banded so far as I know is not a record number, record new spring high counts have already been reached for BCCH, WBNU, CEDW and ATSP.


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