May 19th – Time Moves On

As the month of May progresses, our time at the banding lab is always punctuated by the anticipation of returning migrants. Each banding day can bring a variety of birds, some new species for the season but as time moves on the big day(s) of banding (sometimes over 100 birds banded) has not materialized. Days when the number of birds banded is equal to or less than the birds that are retrapped can be disappointing. There have been very few new migrants moving into the area. Are the birds moving straight through (we’re wondering if migrants take advantage of the good weather to “fly over”, going from the south shore of Lake Erie to the north shore of Lake Ontario in one hop), is there a stall in the migration due to weather conditions south of us, or are there other concerns? It seems to be the echo of other banding stations and observations from notable local birders. Where are all of the spring migrants – neotropical migrants in particular?

Once the sky cleared early this morning the day became sunny with warmer temperatures. It was a busy day with a large group of grade 3/4 students from Hagersville. A quiet day for banding without any new species for the season. An interesting retrap today was an American Goldfinch initially banded on September 07, 2003 as a hatch year male and today, this male goldfinch was in beautiful spring plumage. The only time that bird has been retrapped since that date was today – May 19, 2010. Where was it in-between!?

Banded 19:
Blue Jay – 1
Gray Catbird – 3
Yellow Warbler – 3
Magnolia Warbler – 1
Common Yellowthroat – 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – 1
Indigo Bunting – 1
Chipping Sparrow – 1
Red-wing Blackbird – 2
Brown-headed Cowbird – 3
Baltimore Oriole – 2

Retrapped 18:
Black-cap Chickadee – 2
White-breasted Nuthatch – 1
Gray Catbird – 1
Yellow Warbler – 3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – 1
Chipping Sparrow – 3
Song Sparrow – 1
Brown-headed Cowbird – 2
Baltimore Oriole – 1
Orchard Oriole – 1
American Goldfinch – 2

ET’s: 44 spp. (This is somewhat lower than normal since I wasn’t able to get out and do a census.)


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