November 5th – Time To Winterize

It was raw. The cold, mixed with a light drizzle, which persisted throughout the day, seemed to cut right into you. A good day for data entry. But first we had a class of Grade 7’s to educate (or at least entertain). Just before they arrived we opened the 3 “feeder nets” (1, 1A, & 2) as these can be easily monitored, and baited 3 ground traps. This strategy proved to be quite effective as the birds were making good use of the feeders. In the short time the students were here we handled 62 birds (33 banded, 29 retraps). For the most part, I banded, Natalie scribed, and Nancy did vigilant net/trap checks. Interestingly, the most banded species today was the American Tree Sparrow. The 15 banded matches yesterday’s total – these birds, many of which will spend the Winter in southern Ontario, are just arriving en masse. Winter can’t be too far behind.

Ominously, another sign that the snowy season is imminent, was the flight of this morning’s blackbirds. For the last month, just after dawn, we would stand outside the lab and count the wakening birds. Invariably blackbirds would go over in loose, various-sized flocks, all heading UP the river. They were moving from a roost (probably in the Lower Grand River marshes) to feeding areas in agricultural fields….or dogwood berry patches. Today was different. The flocks were larger, compact, and the birds were heading, at speed, due south. They know it’s time to leave. Get your shovels ready…and keep an eye out for Snow Buntings. If you see any flocks, please let me know!!

Banded 33:

1 Blue Jay
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Cedar Waxwing
15 American Tree Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 House Finches
9 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 29:

1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
3 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
12 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 House Finches
10 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 23 spp.


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