April 7th – In the Snow…

Spring? Today was a Winter day: -3 degrees; cold northwesterly wind; 3 cm of fresh snow on the ground and more falling (and it continued to fall through most of the morning). Yesterday, the 6th, there was no banding due to the rain that started early in the morning and then changed to snow late in the afternoon. This morning it was too windy (and snowy) to open any nets but I did set out some ground traps.
It was interesting to see how the birds were adapting to the conditions: of course, many species were at the feeders ingesting vigorously or below snapping up the droppings; there were 2 Eastern Bluebirds feeding on sumac berries in the stand on the river flats below the Mansion; 13+ Tree Swallows skimmed the surface of the river looking for emerging insects; American Robins stayed in the vicinity of pools of water or the melted areas of the parking area; a Song Sparrow hopped along a log in the river next to shore picking at emerging insects (probably midges); the “resident” Cooper’s Hawk chased some of the feeding Juncos right into the middle of the juniper/cedar shrubs outside the lab door – it must have been getting pretty hungry.
Despite the weather, we had 2 new ‘firsts’ for the year: Purple Finches (at least 3 brilliantly coloured males and a female) and 2 small flocks of Rusty Blackbirds.

Banded 9:

1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 European Starlings (in a ground trap yet!!?)
6 Dark-eyed Juncos

Retrapped 8:

1 Song Sparrow
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Brown-headed Cowbird

ET’s: 29 spp.


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