The Conundrum of Youth-April 26th, 2008

Some of McMaster’s Biodiversity Program visited this morning under the vigilant tutelage of Professor Pat Chow-Fraser. A nice group of kids; smart, keen to learn, energetic. But, and here’s the conundrum, not one of them knew what a Black-capped Chickadee was – even when shown one in the hand. Now this strikes me as odd. How can you be so smart and know so little. However, I’m not going to dwell on that; they learned at least that they don’t know much but didn’t seem deterred; in fact, just the opposite – eager to learn and looking forward to coming back for a more in-depth experience in the Fall. They did put up a new net – now known as the Mac Biodiversity Net – between nets #5 and #7 amongst a young stand of red-osier dogwood that I planted just for this purpose a few years ago.

The unsettled weather brought in some new, and this time, long-distnce migrants: Orchard Oriole, Yellow Warblers, Great Egret and Spotted Sandpiper. However, the wind accompanying this front kept billowing the nets so we didn’t catch much (see below).

A nice aspect of the day was that some Ruthven board members and a couple of other dedicated volunteers spent the morning raking up the grounds, clearing trails and cutting down dead trees. This is when it pays to be a bander: you’d like to help with this labour but, gee, you have to tend to the nets/migration monitoring (which requires you to sit at the picnic table for lengths of time staring off into the sky) so you can’t really get into the mundane toil, but you’re available at lunch time to partake in the BBQ and Walter Peace’s notoriously good potato salad just like you had. How can that be a bad thing!?

Banded 21:
2 Tree Swallows
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 House Wren
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 American Robin
1 Brown Thrasher
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
7 White-throated Sparrow
1 Common Grackle
2 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 10:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 American Robin
2 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 49 species


Leave a Reply