May 21st – “Lips That Have Touched Liquor…..”

Today’s Motley Crew. -NCO

“Chuck Norris’s tears can cure cancer, too bad he doesn’t cry.” Such began our education today to become “cultured” students of Rick, before moving on to the futility of school, blackflies, and alcohol (as Rick’s grandmother once told him, “lips that have touched liquor will never touch mine”).

As you might be able to assume by our many conversations, it was slim picking’s today. As attributed to the southerly winds last night (causing migrants to be on the move), the birds were long gone before net opening, though the few that remained were truly gems – from striking warblers to the usual catbird and yellowthroat gang (local birds). There were several “wow” moments, such as an adult bald eagle that swooped down low, and two Common Nighthawks with their flashy white wing bars.

We had quite a group of young banders, both long time trainees and new faces. Our newest claim to fame is that we all arrived before Rick; something that has been merely a dream since the olden days at Ruthven! Claire and Desmond got to band their first birds, and the rest of us tested our knowledge on how to age birds; every species provided us with a new challenge.

Thanks to Amy’s incredible and plentiful baking, Rick treated the young banders by sharing his newly aquired goods. Sam was lucky enough to get TWO cranberry muffins (totally no hard feelings, I swear).

Our extraction skills (and patience) were truly tested when it came to hummers – no less than 3 found their way into our nets. One striking male treated us with its preening process not long after being released. We told Liam that there was a surprise waiting for him down in net 17, and the instant enthusiasm (and anticipation of a grosbeak) meant he missed the “it may or may not sting” warning. I will leave the rest up to your imagination :).

One of three hummers caught today: 2 males and a female. -ELO

I must mention that Liam and his birding friend Desmond are engaged in a legendary competition. Though they both have impressive Ontario lists, birds are not the feature of this long standing battle, as you may think. They are racing to see who can find the most species of….butterflies. Don’t get me wrong, it IS intense, and their discussion quickly moved on to include snake and salamander life lists. Without a doubt, it was truly a pleasure having a group of keen young banders, sharing the joys of the natural world.

In between the later net rounds, we tracked the flight path of “Gas Hawks” (aka planes) and had fun learning about their destinations with the use of an app. We fantasized about travelling the world, to bird band in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tanzania, and beyond. If only life could permit us to do so (I might get in trouble for saying that…as Rick has imprinted in our minds, “why go to school when you could be banding?”)

Banded 20:
TEWA 1 Tennessee Warbler
CSWA 2 Chestnut-sided Warblers

Chestnut-sided Warbler. -ELO

2 Wilson’s Warblers
2 American Redstart

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher; a bird you look for later in the month of May. -SGS

2 Yellow-bellied Flycatchers
2 Magnolia Warblers
2 Common Yellowthroats

Female Canada Warbler -SGS

1 Canada Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 Scarlet Tanager
2 Gray Catbirds

Retraps – 9:
1 American Robin
2 Gray Catbirds
2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler

Cheers, and thanks for a great day! Eila

Eastern Kingbird -KAP

An interesting recovery!
I just received word from the Banding Office that an Eastern Kingbird that we banded May 20th, 2018 was recovered at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto on May 18th – 3 days ago. The bird would be at least 5 years old.

2 thoughts on “May 21st – “Lips That Have Touched Liquor…..”

  1. A fun and beautifully written bit of prose. It is always a joy to feel the love of the day’s birding experience and the camaraderie amongst those sharing the day (new and old friend alike) come through in each HBO posting. It is a reminder to us all to get outside and let the worries of the world dissipate, if but for a few hours.

  2. Thanks for sharing. So great to see so many young and keen naturalists!

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