May 9th – International Migratory Bird Day

Ruthven Park, in keeping with the intent of the day, holds a banding open house (which is about the same as any other day, except that we give it a name) on International Migratory Bird Day and has local bee-keeper (and bander) Loretta Mousseau do her interesting presentation on…bee-keeping. The morning is aptly named “The Birds and the Bees” – which seems to dissappoint some visitors – especially the adolescent males – who were looking for a completely different experience….

Similar to the last couple of days, we had good variety but not a lot of birds. On the whole we encountered 63 species (highest so far this year) which included 8 species of warblers including a wonderful female Golden-winged Warbler and a stunning male Blackburnian Warbler. We ended up handling 55 birds – 33 new bandings and 22 retraps – which was certainly adequate to entertain the visitors.

Shortly after the visitors left the banding lab to watch Loretta’s presentation (around 11:00), the skies opened releasing rain driven by high winds. Brian and I raced around to close the nets and flip the traps – and were water-logged in a matter of seconds. An inauspicious end to a lovely day.

Plucked in the Head: (Brian and I kibbitzed with using this as the day’s title but figured that it might jeopardize our PG rating.) We recaptured a male Red-winged Blackbird that, a few days ago, was fine. This morning though, its head was bald and there was a large scab on the top of it. The bird must have been in a doozy of a fight (or narrowly escaped predation). We were a little concerned about it, but, when released, it took off like a shot with no seeming impairment.

Banded 33:
1 House Wren
1 Hermit Thrush (quite late for this bird – most passed through a couple of weeks ago)
2 Gray Catbirds
2 Warbling Vireos
1 Golden-winged Warbler (female)
8 Yellow Warblers
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Orchard Oriole
5 Pine Siskins
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 22:
2 Gray Catbirds
3 Yellow Warblers
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
2 Indigo Buntings
7 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Brown-headed Cowbird

ET’s: 63 spp.


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