Migration Monitoring – October 28th-30th

October 30th – THE BIG PUSH………is over.

For the past 2-3 months, unbeknownst to most people, an enormous movement of biomass has taken place as birds move hundreds to thousands of miles to the locations where they’ll spend the winter. During this time, we have been monitoring this movement – it is truly awesome – but now it is drawing down. The long-distance migrants – those headed to the tropics – left long ago (with just a few stragglers left at the beginning of October). The short-distance migrants – those headed to the middle to southern States joined in around the end of September and went strong up until about a week ago. The last few days have been sparse leading me to suspect that the migration is drawing to an end. Granted, there will be movement for the next 3-4 weeks but it will be on an increasingly diminishing scale. We’ll keep banding until the end of the 1st week of November and then….pack things up, enter all the data and start thinking and preparing for next Spring.

(Had an interesting retrap on Sunday – an American Tree Sparrow. It was banded and retrapped here in February, 2007 and has returned to the area – its Winter home.)

Banded 24:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
1 Hermit Thrush
4 American Tree Sparrows
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
10 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 12:
1 Mourning Dove
3 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Song Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 34 spp

October 29th

Another frosty and quiet morning at Ruthven. Other than flocks of Red-Winged and Rusty Blackbirds moving overhead there was little activity.

The first Northern Shrike of the season was spotted near the wood pile behind the garage.

Banded: 18
American Goldfinch 6
Slate-Coloured Junco 9
American Tree Sparrow 1
Black-Capped Chickadee 1
White-Throated Sparrow 1

Retrapped: 9
American Goldfinch 4
Black-Capped Chickadee 1
Eastern White-Crowned Sparrow 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
White-Breasted Nuthatch 1
Northern Cardinal 1


October 28th

The forthcoming icy blast of winter was foreshadowed today as unseasonably cold temperatures were experienced at Ruthven Park this morning. There was a persistent frost which inhibited the opening of a couple of nets in low laying areas.

Another season milestone was reached as our 1000th American Goldfinch of the fall was banded today. Egads that is a lot of goldfinch! I believe we have banded over 1500 for the year.

The first Hooded Merganser of the fall was viewed along the river during census.

Banded: 23
American Goldfinch 13
American Tree Sparrow 2
Slate-Coloured Junco 3
Northern Cardinal 3
Blue Jay 2

Retrapped: 9
American Goldfinch 4
American Tree Sparrow 1 (originally banded on February 18th of this year – it has returned home for the winter)
Slate-Coloured Junco 1
Black-Capped Chickadee 1
Eastern White-Crowned Sparrow 2


Leave a Reply