May 2nd – A Dismal Few Days

The banding hut is festooned with colourful bird bags which Joanne had hung out to dry. -JDF

The first half of April kind of spoiled us and made this cold, wet weather harder to take. It was quite an adjustment for me when I got back from Arizona on the 28th where it was around 90 each day with cloudless skies. Ironically, the 28th was the last “good” day weather-wise we had here; Joanne and Dave were covering at the Farm and banded 11 birds but one of them, a male Red-breasted Nuthatch, was the first for the station. At least it wasn’t raining….They also had a nice retrap: a female Red-winged Blackbird that had been banded exactly 2 years before to the day.

Dave with the retrapped female Red-winged Blackbird. -JDF

Its retrap card. I hope someone eventually added the band number in the top right corner….-JDF

On the 29th I could manage only a census as the weather had turned cold and wet.

On the 30th I opened for a couple of hours between showers and then packed it in when the showers became steady rain. But I banded 14 birds which pushed out April total to 274 of 29 species. This is our highest total since we started in 2021 and despite being able to band on only 15 days. In 2021 we banded 200 (in 21 days) and last year managed only 83. So, despite the weather (and remember we didn’t get started until the 7th). we did well.

You always look to May with uplifted heart – the month of the long-distance migrants. But lousy weather cut into the anticipation and Renessa and I banded only 8 birds; however, one of them was the first White-crowned Sparrow of the year and, while checking out the river, we came upon the first Yellow Warbler of the year mixed in with a small group of Myrtle Warblers.

Today I was at Fern Hill’s Oakville campus to start that program up again. We had a pretty good day considering the cold and rain that started mid-morning. We banded 16 – nothing “exciting” except for a White-crowned Sparrow but we did see the first Brown thrasher of the year (for us). We did have an exciting retrap: a female Black-capped Chickadee that had been banded as a young bird in October of 2017….it is approaching its 6 year birthday! Quite a feat for a little chickadee

April 28th; Farm; Banded 11:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch

1st Red-breasted Nuthatch banded at the Farm. -JDF

1 Eastern Bluebird
1 Song Sparrow
5 Swamp Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird

April 30th; Farm; Banded 14:
2 Mourning Doves
3 American Goldfinches
1 Field Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows
1 Savannah Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Common Grackle

The joy of banding White-crowned Sparrows. -JDF

May 1st; Farm; Banded 8:
1 House Wren
1 House Finch
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow

1st White-crowned Sparrow of the year. -DOL

2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Savannah Sparrow
2 Common Grackles

May 2nd; Fern Hill Oakville; Banded 16:

Future bander, Ceileigh, with a Goldfinch. -RW

2 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Blue Jay
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 American Robin
2 Song Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
2 Dark-eyed Juncos

You can see the joy all over Gavin’s face while holding this junco. -RW

1 Red-winged Blackbird
2 American Goldfinches
1 House Sparrow


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