March 6th – A Herd of Chipmunks

Now, I’m not the sort of person to say, “I told you so”….but…… Two days ago I suggested that I figured I’d see some Red-winged Blackbirds over the weekend. Well, I did. The day started off crisp (-7) and clear but the sun soon started to warm things up. I decided to do a census and while walking along the River Trail noticed 2 small flocks (totalling ~35 birds) of male Red-winged Blackbirds going over. Not north along the River as one might expect but east. It didn’t matter, they were new migrants on their way somewhere – the harbingers of the massive avian movement to come! [I checked my notes from last year: the first Red-winged Blackbirds seen in 2009 were on March 17th.]
Not long thereafter, in the hollow just past the cemetery, I was surprised to come upon a veritable herd of chipmunks – 4. Chipping away and chasing each other around. I hadn’t expected to see them so early.
And then a small flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds showed up at the feeders outside the banding lab – I managed to trap and band a few.
So there can be no doubt: Spring is on the way!

Banded 20:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
5 American Tree Sparrows
4 Brown-headed Cowbirds
10 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 10:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
4 American Tree Sparrows
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 24 spp.


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