June 4th – Different Timelines

This juvenile House Finch is in the process of moulting out of its juvenile plumage and taking on its first “adult” plumage. Gives it quite a funky look…. -AAK

After a 2-week hiatus, I arrived at the Fern Hill Burlington campus to find that, for the most part, the nesting/breeding season was well underway. Almost all of the female birds we captured had either brood patches (swelling of the abdominal area so that the loose skin makes more complete contact with eggs) or were showing obvious signs that they were carrying a egg, ready for laying. Most birds that were observable were carrying nesting material (Mourning Doves making a new nest), or food for young recently hatched, or fecal sacs away from the nest so their whiteness didn’t give away the nest’s camouflage. And, as the above picture clearly shows, some species had already produced and fledged young.

Female Canada Warbler carrying a significant fat load and showing NO signs of breeding condition. -AAK

But, on the other hand, we came across a seeming anomaly – this female Canada Warbler showing no sign of breeding condition and carrying a significant fat load indicating that it still had many kilometers yet to go before starting to nest. The Canada Warbler is noted as being a “late” migrant so, in itself, its presence wasn’t a surprise. It was just interesting to see it, still on its way, amidst a busy, ongoing breeding population.
Banded 15:
1 Warbling vireo

The fact that this Warbling Vireo was showing an egg in its oviduct indicated that it is a female. -AAK

1 Gray Catbird
1 Cedar Waxwing
2 House Sparrows
4 House finches
1 American Goldfinch
1 Red-winged Blackbird
2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Canada Warbler

Birds in the hand are probably the best prop for teaching students about the natural world around them… -AAK



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