May 23rd – Birthdays & Blackpolls

I got to spend the better part of the morning in the company of a delightful young lady, Alexandra, who had talked her (obviously very proud) grandfather into taking her to Ruthven Park so that she could spend her 10th birthday bird banding. Both seemed to enjoy the experience immensely – because, as well as my charming presence and my trusty sidekick, Brian’s, there were some pretty interesting birds around.
Blackpoll Warblers seemed to be everywhere (although it’s hard to tell sometimes as their song is elusive) – we estimated that there were between 20 and 30 around. We banded 4 (including a female – most have so far been males) and retrapped one. The retrap was quite intriguing. It had been caught a week ago with a good fat load and a weight of 14 grams, which is considerably over its “fat-free” weight. During the intervening time it had gained an extra 4 grams (of mostly fat) and weighed in at 18 grams. With that fat loading this bird has the capacity to go a long way. Do you think it could be one of those that takes a left turn and heads northwest toward Alaska?
Another long-distance migrant that also goes as far as Alaska is the Gray-cheeked Thrush. We banded 2 today.
We don’t see many shorebirds at Ruthven so I was surprised when a Semipalmated Plover flew over – probably on its way to Southampton Island….where I’ll be headed tomorrow.

Banded 30:

1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Eastern Bluebird (female nesting in the box by net 4)
2 Gray-cheeked Thrushes
1 Swainsoin’s Thrush
3 Gray Catbirds
2 Tennessee Warblers
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Magnolia Warblers
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
4 Blackpoll Warblers
1 American Redstart
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Northern Cardinal (a hatchling, barely out of the nest)
5 Indigo Buntings (4 females)
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow

Retrapped 10:

1 Blue Jay
1 House Wren
1 Gray Catbird
3 Yellow Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Song Sparrows

ET’s: 69 spp


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