It was a frosty windless morning to start, with clear skies, and stars twinkling. As the sun dawned, the clouds thickened, and the wind from the East got to be quite blustery and raw. No chorus frogs today! Itâ€™s too cold for those little critters. I saw only 5 Tree Swallows this morning, and wonder what has become of the many more that had returned 2 weeks ago. Thereâ€™s not much sign of insects about!
Golden Crowned Kinglets continue to move through in small flocks, with one Ruby Crowned to boot. The feeders bring in the seed eating birds, lots of Juncos and American Goldfinches.
Small gatherings of ducks were seen on the river, included (3) Common Merganser, (7) Wood Ducks, (2) Common Goldeneye and a lonely Mallard.
All in all it was a reasonably productive day, with 33 birds banded, and 15 retraps.
2 Brown Creepers
18 Golden-Crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
2 Slate Coloured Juncos
1 House Finch
9 American Gold Finches
2 Golden-Crowned Kinglets
10 Slate Coloured Juncos
3 American Goldfinches
Speaking of the Tree Swallows that returned two weeks ago, I found a dead Tree Swallow in Dundas Valley on Monday. It didn’t have any signs of physical injury. It seems likely that it starved to death.
I am afraid that many of our insect eating birds might end up like this swallow! I am so afraid to check my bluebird boxes. Great list of banded birds!
It is not looking goog for early migrants. Linda and Al Thrower who monitor 160+ nesting boxes at Ruthven report finding a substantial number of dead Tree Swallows on checking the boxes a day or so ago. One interesting thing they did find is that groups of up to 20 swallows are sheltering in the boxes, presumablt to keep warm.
Golden-crowned Kinglets that we’ve been netting at Ruthven are showing lower fat accumulationa and masses than we’re used to and there appears to be a diminution in the amount of breast muscle – which may indicate that they’re having to catabolize muscle/protein to maintain themselves through these conditions. Kinglets are insectivorous. Seed-eating birds like juncos are doing well at Ruthven, taking full advantage of the feeders on the site. These birds are showing good fat accumulations – even those that have been here for the past week, stalled by the bad weather.
Tragically, here in the town of Lincoln, Niagara Peninsula, we also have discovered tree swallows corpses in two of our bird boxes; one with four, the other seven. So sad.