April 6th – An Inauspicious Start

Rachael, in dress and boots, was a great help setting up a couple of wetland nets. -DOL

By the time the start of the banding season rolls around, I’m pretty wired and bursting to get at it. But a combination of lousy weather and some medical stuff kind of pricked that balloon, so we got off to a slower start than I’d hoped for. The high water levels at the end of March inhibited putting up all the nets – especially the ones in wet areas – and it wasn’t until today that we got them all up (except for one…).
We’ve banded on 3 of the 6 possible days with half decent results (see below). What is interesting to me is how the daily number of species encountered begins to go up as the Spring migration gets rolling. On the 3rd I encountered 26 species; on the 4th, 34 species; and today, 38. So we’re getting there.

Alders along the river have been attracting Cedar Waxwings and American Goldfinches. -DG

Cedar Waxwing along the river. -DOL

The site was in bad shape when we started last year. An abundance of buckthorn; a paucity of tree species and shrubs. So Diane, Mara and I have been hard at work trying to improve the site. A lot (but certainly not all) of buckthorn has been cut down and we’re trying to establish dogwood cuttings. We’re also trying to enhance some of the wetter wetland areas by spreading red osier dogwood (from cuttings). This will make the area much more attractive to a variety of migrants but especially warblers. And Diane has been talking about trying to establish more alders in wet areas from trees along the river. [Any of you plant people are more than welcome to visit and make suggestions…or plant native species.] This is a long-term project. I’m interested to see what the area will look like in 5 years…and then 10. And what birds might be associated with the changes.

A solitary male Bufflehead has been around the last few days – both on the river and, sometimes, moving to the pond. I have not been able to see a female.. -DOL

Banding Results:
April 3rd; banded 7:
1 Blue Jay
4 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Northern Cardinal

April 4th; banded 17:
1 Mourning Dove
3 European Starlings
1 Eastern Bluebird
3 American Robins
1 American Tree Sparrow
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 Song Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Northern Cardinal

April 6th; banded 15:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Northern Flicker
1 Blue Jay
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 Brown Creeper
1 Carolina Wren
1 European Starling
3 Eastern Bluebirds
1 American Robin
1 American Goldfinch
1 Song Sparrow
1 Northern Cardinal


One thought on “April 6th – An Inauspicious Start

  1. A nice start to the season. Sad I missed the creeper too. They’re so cute.

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