December 22nd – One Thing Leads to Another

I wasn’t going out to band this morning; just fill the feeders and maybe do a quick census. Ah…but the feeders were busy, and the sky was clearing, and there was a dusting of new snow, so before you knew it one of the nets was open and traps were baited and I was catching birds. And that’s the way it goes sometimes.

The census was pretty quiet except for a flock of ~25 House Finches that were hunkered down out of the wind but catching the sun in the shelter of some shrubs while picking up gravel along the carriageway that leads to the front of the Mansion. But the big surprise was a flock of at least 40 Wild Turkeys that were moving along the River Trail. When I came upon them they scattered – some flying up and over the river, some flying past me to go further along the flats, and some just ran in the opposite direction. So it was hard to get an accurate count…but there were a LOT of them. I sometimes think about what kind of impact a flock of that size has on an area. In the Spring I would imagine that they would wreak havoc on reptile and amphibian populations (salamanders, young frogs, snakes, etc.) living in the forest. And in the Fall, I’ll bet they clean up prodigious amounts of acorns and hickory nuts as well as berries. The biggest flock I’ve ever seen numbered 78 birds. It was on ruthven property, in one of the cultivated fields right across the highway from the Mansion. I saw it several years ago on a Christmas Bird Count.

The Grand River is still wide open (except for a few ice patches extending out from shore in the eddies. Common Goldeneyes and a few Common Mergansers were feeding. I wonder how they stand the cold of the water when they submerge. [I also wonder why they don’t migrate to warmer climes….]

Banded 22:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 American Tree Sparrows
1 House Finch
17 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 18:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
8 American Tree Sparrows
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 20 spp.


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