October 11th – It Was In The Stars

Just a small part of today's haul!             -B. Oldfield

Just a small part of today’s haul! -B. Oldfield

It was beautiful last night: the bright stars of the Summer Triangle were blazing overhead and there was, perhaps, just a touch of the aurora borealis. But the quiet was shattered by the roaring of nearby combine taking of soybeans to the point that it was drowning out the lure tape we were using for Northern Saw-whet Owls. Hats off to Nancy and the Campanellis for sticking it out to the very last net roiund at 2:00 AM without the reinforcement of a captured owl to keep them going.

I love opening nets in the early morning…well, intellectually, spiritually. My body, I think, would prefer to stay in bed. High overhead the stars of the Winter Triangle were blazing along with the Pleiades and the Hyades, Orion, and, in the east, the great backward questionmark of Leo (a constellation I usually associate with early Spring evenings). Along with the stars a light northerly wind was blowing – great conditions for migrating birds, I thought. And so it proved to be.

The grayish-brown iris of this White-throated Sparrow indicates that it is a young or "HY" bird.    -B. Oldfield

The grayish-brown iris of this White-throated Sparrow indicates that it is a young or “HY” bird. -B. Oldfield

We had action right from the first net round to closing time with several BIG hits involving Cedar Waxwings and Myrtle Warblers. All this action occurred on a day with lots of helpers and young banding acolytes. And what better way to learn than with loads of repetition. When the dust cleared so to speak we had banded 258 birds, our 3rd highest total since beginning Fall banding 19 years ago.

Banded 258:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
6 Golden-crowned Kinglets
7 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Hermit Thrush
153 Cedar Waxwings
1 Nashville Warbler
57 Myrtle Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
6 Song Sparrows
9 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Housa Finch
6 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 41 spp. (including our very firs Mute Swan, swimming in the river)


1 thought on “October 11th – It Was In The Stars

  1. Dear Rick Ludkin,,

    Thank you for your Ruthven Park banding station where I can stand, mouth agape at armful after armful of trapped birds and revel in the awesomeness of banding 258 birds in one day and enjoy the company of people as equally excited by this feat – ten year olds included. What a blessing to behold; perhaps my most favourite day ever. I could barely stand it.! Thank you!


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