March 9th – The Rites of Spring

Everything else notwithstanding, a sure sign of Spring is the erection of the banding nets. I must be getting old because once upon a time I would put them all up in a solo one-day blitzkrieg of energy and action. Now…..I wait for a nice day and, if I feel like it (and there’s some help around), I might put up a couple, and so on until they’re all in place over the space of a couple of weeks. And so it was today: absolutely gorgeous weather (I was in shirt sleeves by the end of the morning) – sunny and clear. And Nancy Furber was around to help out so….we set up 3 net lanes/4 nets: #’s 5, 6, and 6A. Lane 9 was clear enough of snow but…why rush?
We weren’t busy banding that’s for sure. It was kind of interesting actually: there was a flurry of at least 25 Goldfinches around the feeder by the lab at 7:00 and then they were gone and after that only a few would visit the feeders at a time. I had noticed this a couple of days ago as well. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the Cooper’s Hawks that are hanging around (although I didn’t see them today). Maybe when there’s an accipiter about they come in en masse early, before the hawk gets going, to have a quick feed and then slip in and out after that more furtively.
Despite the lack of birds in the nets there were a number of interesting and/or ‘new’ birds around – in fact 6 new birds for the year: 31 Northern Pintail, 2 Wood Ducks, 4 Hooded Mergansers, 5+ Killdeer, 1 Belted Kingfisher, 6+ Common Grackles. As well, there were a few more Red-winged Blackbirds moving through, 3 Rough-legged Hawks soared overhead, and an adult Bald Eagle surveyed the river (which is wide open) from the top of a spruce in front of the Mansion. So, a pretty nice day.

Banded 5:
1 Dark-eyed Junco
4 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 8:
3 Black-capped Chickadees
2 American Tree Sparrows
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 35 spp


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