September 26th – Sink or Swim

The type of banding I had today by myself reminds me of swimming and reaching the drop-off spot between the shallow (safe) depth of water and the area where the ground drops off and you’re on your own in the deeper water. Do you feel confident and step off into the deep end?
How does this relate to my day and the banding actives at Ruthven? Well, it all started with a beautiful morning when I opened the nets – the weather was clear, cool and fresh. The warmth of the sun felt good as it cleared the horizon and the tops of the trees were bathed in sunlight. The first net round was busy with birds to extract but it only got busier before I even finished a complete round. At the final net (Net Lane #9) there were White-throated Sparrows calling all around and there were a number of them in the nets. While I’m extracting the birds a number of White-throated Sparrows continued flying into the nets, and I’m moving as quickly as I can to remove them (most of them were just sitting in the pocket).
Back at the lab I’m banding the birds and thinking eveything is moving along well when there’s a commotion at Net Lane #l (just outside the banding lab). I take a look and a wave of Cedar Waxwings are in the net. The business of the morning continued with birds to band and I decided that it was time to sink or swim. Do I close nets and slow the pace (staying in the shallow water) or do I continue, and step off into the ‘deep’ and keep all of the nets open? Into the afternoon I had two special visitors – Thomas Kitchen and Victoria Hurst. Thanks Tom and Vicki for your help today and the privilege of visiting with you.
I decided to step off into the ‘deep’ and I continued to band with all of the nets opened. I had a BUSY but successful day of banding! I finished the day with 88 birds banded and 9 retraps (this made for a long day at the lab, finishing the day 11 hours later). According to my husband Mike, my family couldn’t ‘identify me’ or ‘identify with me’ when I finally got home.

Banded 88:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
2 House Wrens
13 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Gray-cheeked Thrushes
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
2 Gray Catbirds
21 Cedar Waxwings
1 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Nashville Warblers
1 Magnolia Warblers
2 Blackpoll Warblers
1 Scarlet Tanager
2 Lincoln’s Sparrows
20 White-throated Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
8 American Goldfinches

9 Retraps:
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Eastern Tufted Titmice
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Winter Wren
1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 Nashville Warbler
1 American Redstart

ET’s: 35 spp.


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