September 22nd – Times Have Changed

In pre-retirement days, if there was a thunderstorm going on at 5:30 AM when it was time to get up and open the nets, I would have just rolled over, thankful for the respite and a couple of extra hours of sleep. But….times have changed. I seem to have a new set of obligations now. Today we were being visited by a group of 35 grade one and two students who were coming specifically to see bird banding. That’s a lot of pressure, don’t you think? So I rolled into the lab, in the rain, and checked the weather radar. It looked like the disturbed system (or is it the system of disturbance?) was going to have a break in it; maybe in time for me to open the nets and get some birds for the kids to see. So in the meantime I continued to enter banding data (I’m determined NOT to spend the Christmas Holidays entering the darn stuff…).

The weather radar was right on: at ~8:45 the rain stopped; we (Nancy had showed up by now) ran around and opened nets; and by 9:30, when the kids arrived, we had bags of birds hanging on the wall. In fact, we had lots of bags of birds hanging on the wall….and we had them for the rest of the day. As I’ve tried to indicate in numerous other missives, lousy weather usually makes for good banding at Ruthven. These sorts of conditions seem to bring the birds down out of the treetops and in range of the mist nets. And so it happened today. For example, we banded 21 Blackpoll Warblers. We usually see these birds at multiple heights but today they were low. In one pass we got 10 of them in the new 1A net (yes….the successful Nancy net); all of them were in the bottom 2 panels.

Despite a late start we handled 117 birds. And we were catching them right up until we closed the nets around 2:00.

Banded 88:
1 Mourning Dove
1 House Wren
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
4 Gray Catbirds
2 Cedar Waxwings
2 Philadelphia Vireos
7 Red-eyed Vireos
1 Tennessee Warbler
3 Nashville Warbler
1 Blackburnian Warbler
21 Blackpoll Warblers
1 Northern Waterthrush
2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Scarlet Tanager
10 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
3 House Finches
18 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 29:
1 Downy Woodpecker
4 Black-capped Chickadees
3 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Brown Creeper
1 Wood Thrush
1 Philadelphia Vireo
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
2 Blackpoll Warblers
2 Black & White Warblers
2 American Redstarts
1 Scarlet Tanager
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrows
2 House Finches
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 50 spp.


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