January 25th – At Last!

It started with just a few. -DOL

Grew into a bunch. -DOL

And turned into a horde. -DOL

January has been a pretty frustrating “winter” month: relatively mild and no snow. And this has resulted in no Snow Buntings. The bunting season started off in a promising way I thought when we got that cold snap around Christmas. I had Horned Larks coming to my bait site and these help to draw Snow Buntings when they arrive. But after that brief cold period they all but disappeared. And this concerned me. During this most recent prolonged warm spell I didn’t see any Horned Larks period and I was worried that they had possibly moved on, so when better conditions did occur they wouldn’t be around to draw in the buntings.

Today was crunch time. It wasn’t particularly cold (-2 C) but snow began to fall sometime between 6 and 7 AM; by the time I looked out there was already a couple of centimeters of accumulation. I got to the bait site around 7:45. And what a delightful sight: 30 Horned Larks, 4 Snow Buntings, and 2 Common Ravens(!) were scratching at the snow cover directly above the bait piles (even though they were invisible – to my eye anyway). I wasn’t going to try to band at first, just let the birds experience the corn. So I went home…..That didn’t last long. By 8:30 I was back, the traps were deployed and baited. None too soon. A mixed flock of about 50 birds swirled in and 20 minutes later this grew to 100+ birds that vacillated between flying around, getting grit from the road, and feeding at and in the traps.

Female Horned Lark -DOL

I closed up after about 2 hours even though the birds were around as the traps were filling with snow and covering the corn. During that time I managed to band 14 Horned Larks and 23 Snow Buntings. Two thirds of the latter were females and the males were all young birds (i.e., they had been hatched last Summer).

A jaunty male Horned Lark. -DOL

I went back later in the afternoon to top up the bait piles, which by this time were covered by about 5 cm. of snow. There were a dozen Horned Larks trying to find them and, after, I cleared the snow and touched them up, a larger mixed flock flew in. Tomorrow should be promising.
Just a reminder about HBO’s AGM:

Agenda – Haldimand Bird Observatory’s AGM

Date: February 11th, 2023

Location: Cayuga Library & Heritage Centre
(19 Talbot St. West – fully accessible)

Start time: 10:00 AM (sharp…please….there’s a lot to do.)

1/ Welcome and introductory remarks

2/ Business section:
• Minutes from previous AGM (move/seconder)
• Treasurer’s Report (move/seconder) [move to maintain current accountant]
• Confirmation of slate of board members with (3) requests for suggestions from the floor (mover/seconder)

3/ Overview summary of banding results at Lowville and Hurkmans Farm

4/ How I Spent My Summer With Birds – Liam Thorne and Eila O’Neil

5/ Birds and Mammals of the sub-Antarctic; a trip through the the South Atlantic Ocean – David Brewer
LUNCH BREAK (FREE pizza will be available)

6/ Youth Panel: Approaching Concerns About the Future – Aliya Gill, Sam Lewis, Sarah Sharp, Maggie Mileski, Renessa Visser and Nola O’Neil

8/ 2022: Ezra’s Big Year – Ezra Campanelli

3 thoughts on “January 25th – At Last!

  1. There was a flock of ‘snow birds’ on Kings Row, down by Port Maitland, in the fields west of the 4way stop, midway to the forest

  2. As I read this happy news, I hear the orchestra and opening words of Etta James, singing “At Last”

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