October 6th – Banding on the Edge

The forecast was for very “iffy” weather but we had classes in the morning and classes in the afternoon to entertain. We won’t band if steady rain is coming down or if a strong cold wind is blowing. But failing that we have some leeway to decide whether to proceed or not. Both Loretta and Nancy had painstakingly checked the weather radar before setting out this morning and convinced me that the light drizzle I was experiencing would be short-lived. But it was touch and go throughout the morning with our eyes continually turned to the next oncoming patch of dark cloud, searching it for rain.

I guess the birds had been doing this as well as many had decided to stay put rather than risk a migratory flight during the night in these conditions – we processed 43 retraps, which was ~36% of the 120 birds handled (we banded 77). Although we got a few light showers we never got rain and so were able to keep the nets open throughout. We continued to get Ruby-crowned Kinglets but, interestingly, only 1 Golden-crowned. One highlight for me was the first Orange-crowned Warbler of the year. These birds do not have the startling bright colours of some of their cousins but I find their subtle hues stunning – especially when you can examine them in the hand. We rarely, if ever, get them in the Spring and we only get a few each Fall.

Anther highlight was the homemade pumpkin pie that Loretta brought in for breakfast. Now you might think that pumpkin pie is not an appropriate breakfast food but I would like to protest that a homemade pumpkin pie, with even the filling made from scratch (Loretta’s squash took first place at the Caledonia Fair this year), meets the criterion for vegetable intake. Further, the freshly made whipped cream meets the dairy criterion. Heck, I was doing my body a favour by eating that pie!

Banded 77: [this pushes our Fall total to >2,000 birds]
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
2 Brown Creepers
1 Winter Wren
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
12 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Hermit Thrushes
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 Orange-crowned Warbler
8 Myrtle Warblers
1 Western Palm Warbler
3 Blackpoll Warblers
1 Common Yellowthroat
3 Chipping Sparrows
2 Field Sparrows
2 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
11 White-throated Sparrows
2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
10 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Purple Finch
5 House Finches
5 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 43:
1 Mourning Dove
2 Eastern Tufted Titmice
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
7 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Hermit Thrushes
1 Common Yellowthroat
7 Chipping Sparrows
4 Song Sparrows
8 White-throated Sparrows
3 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 House Finches
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 45 spp.

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