May 7th – Goldfinches and Grosbeaks

It was raining when I arrived at Ruthven before dawn so, not living in York, I sorted retrap cards until the rain stopped. Thankfully the rain lasted only an hour and a half as the joys of retrap card sorting (the 1As were returned in a somewhat shuffled order) is greatly overrated.

After opening the nets I promptly wished I hadn’t as Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks have returned in force with male vying with female to see who could bite me the hardest. Many new American Goldfinch have also arrived, along with several Eastern White-Crowned Sparrows. Chimney Swifts are back as well, their cigar-shaped bodies cutting through the air.

Amongst the visitors at the banding station today I was pleased to meet two ladies from Montreal. They found out about bird banding at Ruthven Park on the internet and regularly read our Nature Blog. Even more remarkable is that they have heard of Lac Nick, the small obscure lake in the Eastern Townships on which my family regularly holidays.

A total of 53 species were recorded.

Banded: 40
American Goldfinch 20
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 1
Pine Siskin 2
Field Sparrow 1
Chipping Sparrow 2
Yellow Warbler 2
Indigo Bunting 3
Yellow-Throated Vireo 1
Eastern White-Crowned Sparrow 2
White-Throated Sparrow 1
Brown-Headed Cowbird 1
Grey Catbird 1
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 3

Retrapped: 21American Goldfinch 4
Chipping Sparrow 7 (the smarter ones have learned how to get out of the ground traps, so these must be the somewhat dim ones)
Swamp Sparrow 1
Yellow-Throated Vireo 1
Tree Swallow 1
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1
Song Sparrow 1
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 1 (in a ground trap no less)
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak 2 (one of which I caught 4 times…)
American Robin 1


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