August 11th – I Thought They Were Gone!

The early morning was eerily quiet. Of course, the days of the vociferous “dawn chorus” are long gone except for the occasional Wood Pewee, Cardinal, Song Sparrow and Indigo Bunting but this morning was different – the social chattering of the Purple Martins was missing. Complete silence from the vicinity of the martin houses. I wandered over to see if they were still there, in the boxes but just quiet but….nothing, they were absent. At that point I just assemed their time at Ruthven had come and they were somewhere else, either migrating or getting ready to do so. But, about an hour later I heard a couple calling and turned to see two fly in from the river to sit on one of the houses. Shortly after, a couple more flew in and then a couple more until by mid-morning there were at least 19 in and about the houses – sitting on them, inspecting the interiors, chattering away excitedly. Occasionally they would all fly up, circle about and then return. The interesting thing is that they had not spent the night in the boxes. I think they probably roosted somewhere along the river returning to them during the day to inspect and socialize – the young ones are starting to get a look at the larger world. I wonder when it will be that they don’t return to the houses and we can assume that they’re on their way south. At that point I will start to await nervously for their eventual return – it has taken a long time to get this “colony” up and going.

Banding-wise we had a very good day. We banded 39 (which is respectable for the time of year) but this total was made up of 20 species. [We also recorded 51 species for ET’s.] Diversity is always interesting and we’re getting to that point when you just never know what might turn up in the nets. Remember: some birds are now on the move south. It’s just the beginning but the push has started.

Banded 39:
1 Black-billed Cuckoo
5 Eastern Wood Pewees
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
4 Traill’s Flycatchers
1 Great-crested Flycatcher
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Warbling Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warblers
1 Brewster’s Warbler
6 Yellow Warblers
1 American Redstart
1 Northern Waterthrush
1 Scarlet Tanager
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
4 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
1 House Finch
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 13:
2 Eastern Wood Pewees
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Red-eyed Vireo (at least 7 years old)
2 Yellow Warblers
1 Indigo Bunting
3 Song Sparrows
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 51 spp.


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