Migration Monitoring – May 3rd, 2007

Migrants are trickling through! There were not a lot of birds around Ruthven today in terms of overall biomass but there was good variety: 17 species banded; 45 species on Census; and 55 species for ET’s. This made things increasingly interesting. Also interesting was that I didn’t encounter any Yellow Warblers – once they’re back you tend to see them every day….just not today. We had 6 “new” species back for the season: Broad-winged Hawk (a bird we rarely see at Ruthven), Solitary Sandpiper, Eastern Wood Peewee (feeding low, out of the wind), Bank Swallow, Yellow-throated Vireo, and Northern Waterthrush.

The day was made even more pleasant by the arrival of 5 helpers/learners: Elaine Serena, Shirley Klement, Joan Shewchun, and Pat Steen from Burlington and Michelle Kenny from Mac’s biodiversity program (who is looking to do a project based at Ruthven). Answering questions and helping folks learn about banding and birds is always a lot of fun for me – even more so when they bring FOOD!

Banded 49:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Tree Swallow
2 Blue Jays
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 House Wrens
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Nashville Warbler
2 Northern Cardinals
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
3 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
3 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 Baltimore Oriole
26 American Goldfinches (they just keep coming)

Retrapped 13:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
5 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
2 American Goldfinches

Estimated Totals: 55 species

We have been getting a lot of American Goldfinches for a couple of weeks now. I think it is because we have two feeder complexes set up with several feeders containing niger seed, one of thier favourite foods. For the past month they have been going through a “pre-alternate moult” which will result in the males having their typical bright yellow and black breeding (or alternate) plumage. Although the females are moulting too, they aren’t as noticeably bright. Moult is energy demanding. All the high quality food attracts birds and the noise they make feeding attracts even more birds – the result being the large number of goldfinches we’re catching.

One thought on “Migration Monitoring – May 3rd, 2007

  1. The new site looks great. Love to read the daily entries. My workload is pretty busy now. Perhaps I’ll get a chance again in the fall to lend a hand……Cheryl in Waterloo

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