March 1st – Gearing Up

The “bunting field” is pretty well bare of snow…and empty of buntings. So, it’s a beautiful day, cool temperatures but a warm sun and blue skies. What to do? Check the feeders at Ruthven and open a couple of nets. And just think: the 2011 Spring Migration Period is just 1 month away; time to start getting ready.

We have kept the feeders topped up throughout the Winter and the birds have been attendance right through. In 2011 we have opened the nets only once in January and once in February so the birds are not wary of the net lanes and as soon as we opened Nets 1A and 2 they were catching birds. We kept them open for only 3 and a half hours but managed to pull in 72 birds, 37 banded and 35 retraps. Highlights included a ‘new’ Eastern Tufted Titmouse and the recapture of a Black-capped Chickadee that has an almost completely white tail (10 of the 12 are white, the other 2 the normal gray).

Unusual tail on a Black-capped Chickadee

Sometimes the recaptures are interesting. For example, we retrapped 6 Downy Woodpeckers – 1 male and 5 females. I wonder how many Downy’s actually are in the vicinity and are using our feeders.

Banded 37:
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
5 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Northern Cardinals
13 American Tree Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
12 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 35:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
6 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
9 Black-capped Chickadees
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
7 American Tree Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
6 American Goldfinches


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