March 31st – A Productive March

Mrs. Goose has had to endure some cold nights but seems non-phased by it. she’s been on the nest for 2 weeks now…at least. -LCR

We usually start Spring banding on April 1st. But as we’ve all noticed: the weather is changing; what little snow we get disappears early; temperatures are milder; “Winter” disappears long before it should. So….do birds respond to these changes by moving earlier. We think so and we thought we should take a look to see if this was the case. And it appears it may be. We banded for 7 days starting March 23rd and after today ended up with 151 banded and a host of retrapped birds banded here in previous years. We’ve done 40 American Goldfinches, which appear to be early migrants. They are all showing moult, changing into their alternate (or breeding) plumage. We’ve also done 28 Song Sparrows – they seem to be spread out all over the site, singing and defending territories….and it’s only March. They’re getting an early start.

Song Sparrows are everywhere. -LCR

We’ve just finished two days that in some ways felt very different but in others were the same. Yesterday it was obvious that birds were on the move: there was a variety of species about including 5 that were “new” for the year: Gadwall(1st ever for the Farm), Belted Kingfisher, Peregrine Falcon, Red-breasted Nuthatch (a species we rarely see here), and Brown Thrasher. At the end of the day we recorded 50 species!! And banded 28.

Golden-crowned Kinglets are always a delight. -RG

This morning there was a very different feel. Early there wasn’t much avian activity at all, net rounds were slow. I wondered if we would even get 10 birds. But then it warmed up enough that birds began to move about and we ended up banding 28, same as yesterday. But….the variety of species was greatly reduced: only 33 encountered. Quite likely the rain that fell in the late afternoon and night yesterday had a lot to do with it.
March 30th; Banded 28:
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 American Robin
14 American Goldfinches
5 American Tree Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
1 White-throated Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
ET’s: 50 spp.

March 31st; Banded 28:
4 Mourning Doves
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets

Golden-crowned Kinglets: female on the left, male on the right. LCR

2 American Robins
8 American Goldfinches
4 American Tree Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
4 Song Sparrows
ET’s: 33 spp.

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