May 31st – And So It Ends

Wow! I can hardly believe it: Spring migration monitoring at Ruthven is over for another year. Where did the 2 months go!? And what a great effort by a LOT of people. During this period, over 25 individuals contributed almost 1,000 volunteer hours to making it all happen. We had “resident” banders (myself, Loretta Mousseau, Nancy Furber, and Christine Madliger) and “guest” banders (Audrey Heagy, David Brewer, and Cindy Cartwright) all take responsibility for particular days so that of the 61 possible days of monitoring in April and May, we had banders on site for 60 of them. We also had many “unofficial” banders/birders who came out to learn about banding, bird/do censuses, take photographs or simply help in whatever way they could. Good thing too as we entertained 888 visitors during this period. Many of these were school children from Kindergarten to highschool – Ruthven, due to a generous donation, has been able to pay for the busing costs enabling many children and youth to experience the beauty of Ruthven and the many aspects of its natural history. I lost count sometime in May but I think we had 18 school visits. There’s something deeply satisfying in watching the face of a child (of any age) light up when they meet a bird up close.
Although these numbers have been outstanding, the overall banding numbers were, at best, disappointing. In terms of birds banded we had one of our worst Springs of all time (1,214 banded) and the rate of capture was the very lowest – only 20.5 birds per 100 net hours [1 net hour = one 12 m net open for 1 hour]
I am just finalizing the totals now and our Blog Wizard, Jeff MacLeod, will post them shortly so you can see for yourself.
On this, the last day, we didn’t have big numbers but we managed to finish with a “big” bird – a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, was the last out the chute.

Banded 13:
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Gray Catbird
1 Cedar Waxwing
2 Yellow Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler (and after I told you all the neotropical migrants had gone through)
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Song Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 13:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Great Crested Flycatcher (banded as a nestling in 2008)
1 Wood Thrush
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Song Sparrows
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 57 spp.


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