October 27th – Winding Down?

I wonder how many people are aware of the enormous shift of biomass that has taken place in the past 2 months. Millions of birds have moved from their Summer breeding grounds to their Winter homes – and it has gone largely unnoticed by people everywhere. We haven’t seen any long-distance migrants (i.e., those that fly to Latin and South America) for some time now. Recently it has been the “short-distance ” migrants (those birds that winter in the central to southern States) and winter birds (those that will be here for the winter – for some, this is their Florida retreat).
When we opened this morning I noticed that Orion was now in the western part of the sky – he’s moved a considerable distance since I first saw him. Time is marching on.
It was clear at first light but some cloud moved in quickly until by 9:00 it was almost completely overcast. This was a good thing for us as it seemed to bring the birds down from the treetops – ostensibly to feed ahead of the possible rain (which we didn’t get). Birds were going through in waves; mixed flocks that might contain chickadees, Yellow-rumped Warblers, juncos, sparrows, and the odd woodpecker and nuthatch. Interestingly there were NO kinglets around today at all. They have all moved on with none having taken their place.
We ended up being quite busy, banding 80 birds and handling 44 retraps for a total of 124 birds. But we managed these quite efficiently. Relative newcomer (but scribe extraordinaire) Michelle Bultje showed up with her 4 children (Caleb, Jerrod, Samantha and Jesse). So we got the factory thing going – Nancy and Christine buckled down to banding while I played the Pied Piper and with 4 kids in tow cleared the nets – which the kids then ran back to the lab. This worked extremely well until Michelle decided that her kids were having way too much fun and insisted they return home to get back to their school books…..
American Goldfinches continue to come out of the woodwork – we banded 31 today for a Fall total of >630!!

Banded 80:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
1 Hermit Thrush
3 American Robins
3 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
3 American Tree Sparrows
1 Fox Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
9 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
17 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 House Finches
31 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 44:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
2 Eastern Tufted Titmice
8 Black-capped Chickadees
3 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Eastern Bluebird
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Fox Sparrows
6 White-throated Sparrows
7 Dark-eyed Juncos
11 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 34 spp.


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