November 7th – The End is Near

Easy now…..the title is not meant to be an apocalyptic warning!! It’s just that tomorrow will be the last day of banding for the Fall season. And what a beautiful day it was – sunny and warm The only downfall was the brisk wind that picked up as the morning wore on and billowed the nets, effectively restricting the catch (although we had a really good “first round”). This was probably a good thing as we could all go to hear Dr. Oliver Love’s presentation on the usefulness of European Starlings in studying the dynamics of maternal stress. It was a great talk – I now know why my mother was so stressed……by me……

The migration, while still going on, is drawing quickly to a close. We had a few migrants around: Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Fox Sparrow. But most of the birds are local ones – or at least we think of them as local. But consider goldfinches: we have banded over 700 this Fall. But today we retrapped only 2 of them while banding another 30 “new” ones. Where have the banded ones gone and where have the “new” ones come from? A couple of years ago one of our goldfinches turned up 3 weeks after banding on the other side of New York City on Long Island and another turned up in West Virginia. So, some of them are moving on.

We had an interesting retrap – an American Tree Sparrow. It was originally banded in March 2008. It returned to Ruthven after the breeding season and was recaptured on January 1, 2009. And then it was recaught today after going through another migration north to the breeding area at the tree line and then back again. It’s “home” for the Winter.

In keeping with the end of the migration, the overall number of species that we encountered today was down – only 29.

Banded 41:
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Yellow-rumped Warblers
2 American Tree Sparrows
1 Fox Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
30 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 22:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
4 Black-capped Chickadees
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
3 Northern Cardinals
1 American Tree Sparrow
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 29 spp.


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