July 27th, 29th & August 1st, 2008

August 1st: Brian Fuses With GAIA!!

I returned from the Arctic on Wednesday night – to trees, traffic and the earthy smells of rain-ripened lushness. And, having grown a little tired of Common Eiders, I decided to see how the Summer banding has been going. I arrived to find Brian doing the last MAPS session of the season – MAPS is an acronym for Mapping Avian Productivity and Survivorship, a program with a fairly strict protocol that is carried out through the breeding season; results are sent to Point Reyes Bird Observatory in California for analysis.

I was struck by Brian’s gaunt, anaemic look – like he’d been sucked dry. This is his explanation: rather than wait for death to recycle his personal chemistry back to Mother Earth – Gaia – he had decided to beat the crowds and start early. He therefore made himself readily available to the hordes of mosquitoes that the rains have engendered in the slough forests and, through countless donations, donated his essence to the Great Cycle of Life. Laudable…however, I suggested that he could have done this with greater gusto if he had simply banded naked but he claimed that he wanted to draw the process out so he could really enjoy it. Interesting guy……

There were lots of young birds around, especially Gray Catbirds and Song Sparrows. Perhaps most interesting was a Wild Turkey perched in a tree in the vicinity of Net #4.

Banded 30:
1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 House Wrens
1 Veery
11 Gray Catbirds
1 Warbling Vireo
1 Blue-winged Warbler
2 Yellow Warblers
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
7 Song Sparrows

Retrapped 5:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Gray Catbird
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows

ET’s: 51 species


July 29th, 2008

A quiet day with little movement of birds. There were – as there usually is it seems – a couple of interesting species around that made the day anything but a bore.

A young Northern Waterthrush, possibly a local bird, was banded, as was an adult male Swainson’s Thrush complete with prominent CP.

The year’s first Olive-Sided Flycatcher was sighted foraging along the river.

Banded: 8
Northern Waterthrush 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Swainson’s Thrush 1
Song Sparrow 2
Grey Catbird 2
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 1

Retrapped: 6
Common Yellowthroat 1
Black-Capped Chickadee 1
Song Sparrow 2
Grey Catbird 2


July 29th, 2008

After the unsettled weather of the past week it was a relief to be out and not be threatened by torrential rain, high winds, and electrical storms. Like most of southern Ontario Ruthven has been deluged in rain of late and the proof is in the seasonal high water level of the Grand River, the deep puddles on the lawn, and the waterfall at Net 4.

A quiet day for banding as it turned out, but there were a few noteworthy species. The first was the capture of a young Eastern Screech Owl. An ungainly, somewhat gawky ball of fuzz, I believe this is the first one banded at Ruthven. The second unusual bird was a second year female Tennessee Warbler complete with brood patch. Whether this bird is an early migrant, an unusual local nester, or a bird translocated by the unsettled weather is open to conjecture.

Also observed during the day was a Cooper’s Hawk working the slope between the river and the park, and a small flock of Bonapartes Gulls heading towards the river.

A total of 48 species were encountered during the day.

Banded: 20
Tennessee Warbler 1
American Goldfinch 1
Black-Capped Chickadee 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Ovenbird 1
Song Sparrow 3
Cedar Waxwing 1 (I see’d ’em all over the place)
Grey Catbird 8
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 1
Eastern Screech Owl 1

Retrapped: 9
House Wren 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Black-Capped Chickadee 1
Cedar Waxwing 2
Song Sparrow 2
Grey Catbird 2


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