The First Big Push!

~by Liam Thorne
Sunday, April 24, 2022 – Lowville

After watching the radar and checking BirdCast for the previous few nights, I was convinced that Sunday would be the first decent sized push of our classic April migrants. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I realized I was right. You know when you can just feel that it will be a good day? Well, I felt that, and I was thrilled!
I met Sarah in the driveway and we walked in to open the nets. The calls of White-throated Sparrows and constant harsh chatter of Ruby-crowned Kinglets filled our ears. We found Sam had beat us there and was just starting to open nets. After flushing a grouse from under net #5, we finished and headed back to the tent, where we found David, who was the BIC for the day, and Aliya.
The first net round wasn’t anything special. A couple White-throats here, a junco there, etc. However, after processing those birds, I attempted to track down a mysterious trill, and found net 0L had a nice little hit of four Ruby-crowned Kinglets! This could be promising…. I thought, especially as I had taken ownership of “my net”, hehe. (For context, this is the replacement of 0, which was put up last fall near the bridge because I saw a Connecticut Warbler close by. It turned out to be pretty productive, second only to the meadow nets. We’ve been debating whether the “L” stands for Liam or Loser….after the 23-24 weekend, I think Liam. Anyways….. I digress)
After banding those males, all of which were new, we decided to do another net round. And BAM! The floodgates opened. I don’t remember the specific species or numbers, but for the next 30-45 minutes, all Sam and I were doing was extracting birds, mainly from nets 1-5, but a couple from the quadruple nets as well. At one point, I was extracting a swamp Sparrow from 3 and Sam was doing another one at 4. I got mine out and went over to see how he was doing. We bagged them then noticed a nice large mixed flock moving through. Loads of kinglets down low in the scrub, some Yellow-rumped Warblers higher up, and the first Blue-headed Vireo of the year for the site just missed the net. Satisfied, we turned to go, and were shocked to see that the nets we had just emptied were full again with 5 RCKIs, 3 WTSPs, and a BHVI!
After that rush, things kind of slowed down to only 3-5 birds per round, but still at a steady pace. By the end of the day, we had 26 RCKIs banded! See the full banding list below:


26 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Winter Wren
1 Blue-headed Vireo
3 Swamp Sparrow
14 White-throated Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
TOTAL: 46  (0 recaps)


Oh yeah! Dave Maida also found the Great Horned Owl nest in the back forest! Straight up the track from where the aerial net will be…..but shhh.

Blue-headed Vireo ~ always an exciting catch but particularly so today since it is the first one for the year! Photo – LET

Great-horned Owl nest. You can just see the top of the adult’s head sticking up. Photo – LET

Garter snake – LET

The trilliums are starting to bud. Photo – LET




Monday April 25 – Lowville

It started out as a very warm overcast morning.. some of the first warm weather we’ve had this spring.. and I thought maybe it will be a busy day. Aliya joined me since she didn’t have school (PA day), and we had a busy first net run with 12 birds, mainly kinglets. After that it slowed down precipitously with 0-1 birds on most net runs for the rest of the day. We ended up having half of the day’s birds in that first run! It just goes to show you can never be sure what to expect!
Still a beautiful day to be outside and we ended up with a respectable list of birds banded:

2 Golden-crowned Kinglet
11 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Slate-colored Junco
5 White-throated Sparrow
1 Northern Cardinal

1 Slate-colored Junco
2 Black-capped Chickadee

TOTAL: 24 (21 banded, 3 recaps)


One thought on “The First Big Push!

Leave a Reply