May 5th – Sailors’ Consternation

“Red sky in the morning…sailors take warning”. I was mindful of this dire warning as I finished opening the nets with a VERY red sky in the East and cloud overhead. But this time the portents were wrong – the clouds slowly cleared over the course of the morning and the dazzling sun beat down on my neck and dried up some of the puddles on the paths.

However, the birds must have heeded the warning (and the northerly breezes) and stayed put because there wasn’t really much new around – just an Eastern Kingbird and the first Cedar Waxwings (a pair). So the banding wasn’t spectacular but it was steady enough to keep the 35 visitors (a class from Dunnville and a group from Cayuga SS) interested and intent. It’s sort of amazing how much excitement a handheld American Goldfinch can generate in a young mind. We’ve had a LOT of visitors this year: over 200 since the beginning of April! Just the other day, Brian and I were thinking back to the days (not so long ago) when banding at Ruthven was a solitary experience, a visitor being a wecome exception. Now, at times, a solitary experience would be the welcome exception. It’s a good thing we were able to expand the banding lab; even now, with a large group of visitors, it can get claustrphobic. I can’t imagine what it would be like in the old, tiny lab.

That being said, we’re looking forward to International Migratory Brid Day on Saturday when we traditionally have our “Open House” (in reality, every day is an Open House). This always brings out a lot of people, especially children, and it’s a lot of fun. Hope to see you there!
As well, fellow bander Loretta Mousseau will be giving her excellent presentation on bees.

Banded 31:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Gray Catbird
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Ovenbird
1 Northern Cardinal
6 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
8 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 20:
1 Blue Jay
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Gray Catbird
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
6 Chipping Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 50 spp.


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