Migration Monitoring
April 20th & 21st, 2007

April 21st

Cold at first light – frost patches in the low-lying areas that “greased” a couple of the poles. But as soon as the sun cleared the horizon it heated up quickly to a cacophony of rejoicing frogs.

Ironically, beautiful days at Ruthven tend translate into mediocre banding days – especially in the Spring. I think migrants just keep pushing in these conditions coming down either having crossed a large water body or just before having to cross one. You would get a buildup along the shorelines but not so much inland.

I’m a little surprised by what we haven’t seen yet: Common Loons in larger numbers; Northern Rough-winged Swallows; a Pine Warbler or two; White-throated Sparrows (the two we banded early I’m pretty sure were locally wintering birds). There was an Eastern Towhee around today – so that’s some consolation.

Banded 23:

2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 Purple Finch (the first one this year)
12 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 5:
2 Hairy Woodpeckers
1 Blue Jay
2 Dark-eyed Juncos.

Estimated Totals: 45 species

There was a regional meeting of the FON at Ruthven this morning – which meant coffee and goodies for the banders. Always a good thing.


April 20th

Another beautiful day weather-wise with clear blue skies and the temperature hitting 18C at close. Of course it also meant there were few birds about. More Slate-Coloured Juncos disappeared for parts north overnight, which accounts for the fact that the number of banded individuals outnumbered retraps for the first time in more than a week.

Large numbers of Song Sparrows were evident throughout the property today, bickering wildly and generally trying to look like something more interesting.

The first Barn Swallow of the season flew over in the morning, as did 3 Caspian Terns and 3 more Bonaparte’s Gulls. A pair of Common Loons was also observed, 1 heading north and the other almost due west.

Waterstriders have appeared on the stream behind the banding station, and bee flies are now out. A Question Mark was also seen along with another Mourning Cloak. Northern Spring Peeper has joined the chorus along with Northern Leopard Frogs and chorus frogs.

Banded 18:
Golden-Crowned Kinglet 2
Brown Creeper 1
Slate-Coloured Junco 2
American Goldfinch 9
Song Sparrow 1
Brown-Headed Cowbird 2
Blue Jay 1

Retrapped 14:

Golden-Crowned Kinglet 1
American Goldfinch 1
American Tree Sparrow 1
Slate-Coloured Junco 5
Song Sparrow 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Brown-Headed Cowbird 1
American Robin 1
Blue Jay 1

One of the Slate-Coloured Juncos was also recovered the previous day. In a little more than 24 hours it gained 1.2g, going from 18.6g to 19.8g.

A recaptured female Downy Woodpecker was originally banded as an HY on July 22nd, 2003 and has been recaptured 17 times.


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