Cross-Country (SNBU) Checkup- December 14th- An early and busy start for the Southern Québec banding teams!

While all of us are itching to get started, eagerly waiting for Snow Buntings to be part of our day-to-day lives again, the Southern Québec teams have been busy banding at their 3 sites since November 19th!  See down below for their updated totals.

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Flock near Camp Morton, MB. Photo : Bill Maciejko

ALBERTA

 (December 11th)

Observed lots of SNBU’s but having difficulties trapping birds. SNBU’s were feeding at my bait piles but it warmed up from -30c to +6c and birds quit feeding at my bait site. Hoping for old man winter to return here soon.

Mike Blom, Peace Region Raptor Project, Peace River Alberta Canada

SASKATCHEWAN

(December 10th)

I believe this is my 4th year with this group and I have yet to catch my  first SNBU.  I built a trap (works great for Pine Grosbeaks!), but have yet to lure a group of these birds into bait.  I see large swarms of them along the grid roads and out in the fields, but they seem to be constantly on the move. Maybe this year!

Harold Fisher. Nisbet Banding Station, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

(December 9th)

Just saw a small flock of about 25 birds just east of Saskatoon.

Christy, Saskatoon area

MANITOBA

 (December 12th)

Snow Buntings began arriving at their usual over-wintering site near Camp Morton, MB right on schedule: as soon as the snow depth topped six inches, which occurred over night Nov. 28-29 this year.  Beginning with two individuals, the flock quickly grew to a steady 100 (with a high count of 150 through the day, Dec. 6th).  These numbers held through Dec. 10th, when we began a period of abnormally warm temperatures with very strong southerly winds blowing through the days and most of the nights.  From then on, the flock diminished to only 23 at the heaviest feed yesterday and again today (Dec. 13th).

In the past week I have seen several reports from across southern Manitoba of sightings of small drifts of 3 to 20, 12-15 being the most common.  On Dec. 8th a flock of 50 was reported about 20 km southwest of here (Camp Morton), and on the 10th, three well separated flocks (40, 50, 80) were recorded about 80 km to the north.  Best of all was reading of a flock of 250 seen today, about 40km to the southwest.

However, all numbers are much lower than normal.  Another “bait/feed station,” just north of Winnipeg is seeing only 12-30 SNBU, with a high count of 50, where 100-150 are the norm.  Checking my records back through 2007, I should have had at least a few sightings of 500 by this date, with a regular feeding flock of 300-400.  Hopefully they’re just late, and numbers will increase when this warm spell ends next week.

As to banding: no good news there, either.  As they say in Hollywood, “I have put feelers out” among the local banders, but so far have had no takers.

Bill Maciejko, Camp Morton Manitoba

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Bill and SNBU’s in Camp Morton are waiting for a bander! Photo: Bill Maciejko

ONTARIO

(December 10th)

A regular schedule for updates is a great idea. As of right now we have no snow, and have had no observations of SNBU winter flocks in our area (there have been a observations of a few birds here and there since late fall). There is only a 2-4 cm snow forecast between now and the weekend. I’ll update again before Sunday if anything changes.

Cheers,

Theresa, King City

 (December 10th)

Hello Marie-Pier and Snow Bunting Enthusiasts,

In Nipissing, (I am located 25 miles SE of North Bay) Snow Buntings have been happily moving around my neighbourhood for the past month or so, feasting on the many hay and grain fields which were never harvested this past wet season. They have had little to no snow to bury their food supplyI am not a bander, but last winter enjoyed feeding a flock of SNBU which stayed the winter. The numbers varied between 50 and 150. Most days I am counting 120 – 150 this season. But, they have not needed my feed! They are finding plenty in the fields. A friend of mine, located about 15 miles east of here, reports that while normally at this time of year he has 50 – 100 SNBU coming to feed on his driveway, this season none have yet appeared. I am curious to learn if Bruce and Joanne have been able to attract any to their traps up in the New Liskeard area, where too, farmers had to abandon crops still in the field. I am excited to learn that some Banders will be using an additional colored band for SNBU. I will be watching for these to show up at my farm – last season I had a high count of 3 banded SNBU, but had no way to know from which station they had come. Hope everyone (to use Rick’s phrase) has a Buntingful Christmas!

Lori, Chisholm Township

 (December 9th)

While I have seen snow buntings around my area recently, they have yet to appear at my feeders this year. Will let you know when they show up !

Lise Balthazar, Lanark, Ontario

 (December 9th)

We have no Snow Buntings anywhere near my site in Arthur. However, I have lots of reports of fairly large flocks in the Port Elgin area, perhaps 60 km (?) north of my site…… David

 David Lamble, Arthur

 (December 8th)

There are many flocks of SNBU roaming restlessly around Bruce County but not staying in any one place for more than 10-15 minutes at a time. The last of the corn is being harvested before the snow comes and there is a lot of food available everywhere.

Cindy, Bruce County

 NEW BRUNWICK

 (December 9th)

Today on the Royal Road, near Fredericton and Stanley, I saw a small group of about 15 SNBU on the road picking up grit.  Time to go see the farm I usually band them at.

Dorothy, Fredericton

 QUÉBEC

 (December 12th)

Once again we will have three sites running in southern quebec this winter. Mirabel will be run by Liette Fortier and Richard Beauchamp with the help of volunteers from the COMIR, Simon Duval will run the site in St-Roch with the help of volunteers from the CORDEM and Coteau-du-lac will be run by Gay Gruner, Lisa Keelty and Alison Hackney with the help of local volunteers. Now for the buntings news:

(Mirabel) Mirabel got a head start from Nov 19 to 22 when 66 SNBU were banded including 13 females. This is a really high percentage for this site as we generally average about 5% females. (Benoît Gendreau in Berthier also had this same phenomenon at his banding site in previous years, with a much higher percentage of females early in the season). From Dec 4 to Dec 13, only small flocks have been seen in the area and only 13 SNBU were banded bringing the season total to 79 SNBU.

(St-Roch) We banded at St-Roch on 4 mornings (about 1,5h each) so far this season (Dec 7, 8, 9 and 13) and the flock seems to be a constant 70-80 birds with peaks around 120-130. We managed to band 140 SNBU so far there, with again an above average percentage of females.

(Coteau-du-lac) Coteau-du-lac has been our most diverse site so far this season. From Dec 11 to 13, we managed to band 28 SNBU, 17 HOLA and 6 LALO. Birds have just showed up recently there so we’re hopeful that the totals will rise quickly.

So far, our three teams have banded 247 SNBU since the start of the season, maybe we can double that until the end of December?!? These birds are heading south fast, they will be around your traps very soon.

Simon Duval, Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan

 (December 9th)

Je suis encore là…..but the Snow buntings have yet to show up.  Saw one small flock in compton a couple of weeks ago, but nothing since.

Carl Bromwich, Barnston-Ouest, Eastern Townships

(December 13th)

I am still baiting 2 sites in Rimouski area (one in the highlands of Sainte-Luce, one by the water) and Ludovic Jolicoeur is baiting in his backyard in Le Bic as well. We are waiting… Snow Buntings found the corn in the highlands last week though. I had never seen a larger flock as this one before and counted about 600 birds. They just seem really happy with the abundant natural food source around, and only visit the corn for a few seconds at a time…There was a big snow storm at the end of last week but then again rain and warm weather cleared fields of snow yesterday. None were around this morning.

Marie-Pier Laplante, Rimouski area, QC

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Site in the Highlands in Ste-Luce, QC. Photo : MP Laplante

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It was warm, foggy and rainy this morning in bunting-land, Sainte-Luce, QC

UNITED STATES

(December 11th)

We’ve had some unseasonably warm winter weather, so there have been no sightings of Snow buntings since observations of a few birds moving through in October.

Vicki Piaskowski, Hartland, WI

AND some special SNBU news from Rick (!) :

 (December 8th)

It was a rare lovely day at sea: low winds, a long, gentle swell, and blue skies. There were also a good number of birds to count (if not a lot of variety). But the best and most interesting one was a Snow Bunting. It passed the ship heading west; at the time we were sitting 28 nautical miles due east of Cape Freels (the closest land) on the north side of Bonavista Bay.  What the heck was it doing out there!? Had it been blown offshore by the recent storm? Or was it completing a long migratory flight from Greenland? Either way it was a delight to see.

Rick, at sea

*** Don’t forget to send me your next updates by December 27th for the December 28th post. Thanks!

Cross-country (SNBU) Checkup – November 13th

Sunset at a baited site by the shore of the St-Lawrence in Ste-Luce, QC. Photo MP Laplante

Sunset at a baited site by the shore of the St-Lawrence in Ste-Luce, QC. Photo MP Laplante

MANITOBA

 (November 10th)

SNBU began trickling through south-central Manitoba Oct. 9.  Most reports are of groups of 2-20, with one report of 40, one of 69, and two of 200: the first Oct.18 on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg at Riverton Sandy Bar IBA; the second Oct. 25 just sw of Winnipeg. (Same flock??).  As in previous years, they appear to travel mainly between the lakes, favouring the shorelines.  But this could be a bias in reporting.  Not one seen here (2 1/2 miles west of Camp Morton) yet this year, but a few individuals reported at the lakeshore.

All the best, Bill Maciejko, Camp Morton Manitoba

ONTARIO

(November 11th)

Hello all!  It is nice to “meet” you Marie-Pier!

We have had two sightings of SNBU at Kerns so far this season.  We had a blustery Halloween day and along with the ghosts and goblins blew in a flock of about 300 SNBU.  I took some time to watch the flock with my bins and saw several LALO in the flock as well.   On Sunday Nov. 9th, another snowy day, I went to school to grab some materials and sure enough the Flock was back! Today school was cancelled for a snow day…..so I think the birds may be here to stay.  The kids will start baiting the fields soon. The kids are super excited! Joanne Goddard, Timiskaming Shores

(November 10th)

Hello Fellow SNBU banders, Here in Essex County we have a new challenge for this coming winter’s SNBU season, namely the loss of our East Harrow banding location.Our host was hit by the love bug and moved out of her rental house on farm property that had been our SNBU banding home for the past few seasons.We have a lead on a replacement location and hope to announce that we will be continuing our winter efforts going forward.Stay tuned for the next exciting installment.

PS: The Raptor Watch at Holiday Beach has heard SNBU’s flying over…can snow be far behind ? Bob Hall-Brooks, Essex County

(November 12th)

Good morning to all,

I saw my first Snow Bunting of the season on October 22nd, just a kilometer up the road from my house on Sheridan Rapids Road, in Lanark, Ontario.Yesterday, I spotted a flock of about 12 Snow Buntings in an open gravel pit, about 3 kilometers from my house, on Iron Mine Road. That is the 3rd year in a row that I have spotted Buntings at that same spot, around the same time of year. I watched them for several minutes, as they were hopping about on a bit gravel mound. I’m not sure why they pick that spot; perhaps it resembles their nesting grounds on Baffin Island, or it’s a like a benchmark or a point of reference when they first arrive in the area?

I haven’t seen any on my property yet, but the white millet is on the ground and you’ll be the first to know when they show up!

Have a good day, Lise Balthazar, Lanark, Ontario

 (November 10th)

Saw a lovely flock of about 50 Snow Buntings near Port Elgin on the Bruce today. I am already getting “the itch”………….. David Lamble, Fergus

NEWFOUNDLAND

(November 10th)

Not much to report here from Newfoundland, though there have been some reports of SNBUs in eastern Newfoundland and one report from western Newfoundland over the past 2 weeks. Best, Darroch Whitaker, Rocky Harbour

 QUÉBEC

 (November 11th)

I have not spotted big flocks in my area yet, but a few groups of 10-100 individuals are often observed in nearby fields. I have not started baiting yet, but should start to do so soon. As soon as the ground remains covered with snow, I will start trapping. Benoit Gendreau – Berthier-sur-Mer, QC

(November 13th)

And here in Rimouski area, Qc, I saw the first few lone SNBU’s travelers back on around October 23rd. Small flocks of migrating SNBU’s have been a common sight along the shores of the St-Lawrence in the last couple weeks as well. I have started baiting a site this week right by the river in Ste-Luce and 2 buntings were feeding on the corn patch today. I will start baiting another site this week end. We had kind of a snow storm last week end and more snow falling this week. It has melted now but it’s a matter of days before snow falls again and stays for good… And with it, the snow buntings… Marie-Pier

 

 

November 10th – Endings

Rain pelted down, washing the plane as it taxied to the terminal. St. John’s has had its share of rain and storms over the past three weeks, according to the taxi driver who ran me into the city and dropped me at the Captain’s Quarters Hotel. This must have been a fine building….decades ago. But time has levied its toll and it now would most appropriately be described as “seedy”. But it’s relatively cheap and the fact that (reportedly) its rooms can be rented by the hour lends it a certain ambience, character. Plus the concierge always calls me “sweety” which, at my age, is a bonus. I will fly up to St. Anthony at the northern tip of Newfoundland tomorrow and go aboard a Coast Guard vessel where I will spend the next 40 days doing seabird counts in the Labrador Sea/North Atlantic.

2014-11-10 14.51.39-comp

But in the meantime I have been able to take advantage of this rainy afternoon to go over the figures from this Fall’s banding effort. And the numbers bear out our efforts: it was a tough slog without much payoff. Here’s some of the numbers:
• We were open for 67 days, missing only 1 day to really bad weather (and that was taken up with DET data entry).
• The nets were open for 8,587 net hours which is our second highest total since inception in the Fall of 1995.
• But the total banded – 2,685 – is only our 9th highest total (the highest being 5,195 in 2012)
• The number of species banded was 87.

And here’s where the rubber hits the road:
• The rate of capture (i.e., birds caught per 100 net hours) in September was 23.5 – our lowest rate ever.
• The rate of capture in October was 39.9, by far our lowest rate ever.
• The rate of capture in November was 39.3, 15th overall.
• Our biggest daily catch was only 93 birds (on October 13th). This marks the first time since 1997 that we have not had a 100+ bird day in the Fall. (Of course, our biggest day was 309 on October 25, 2011).

Top Ten:
1. American Goldfinch – 411 (good to see their numbers going up after the crash from 1,316 in 2012 to only 198 in 2013)
2. White-throated Sparrow – 215
3. Cedar Waxwing – 116 (well down from the 1,481 we did last year)
4. Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 110
5. Dark-eyed Junco – 107
6. Golden-crowned Kinglet – 99
7. Song Sparrow – 94
8. Gray Catbird – 81
9. Hermit Thrush – 80
10. House Finch – 80

At this point it’s hard to attribute cause to what we saw. It will be interesting to see what the results were at other stations. One big contributor was the poor berry and grape crop this year at Ruthven. This is certainly reflected in the drop in waxwing numbers. Waxwings are primarily fruit eaters in the Fall and, unlike last year when we had a bumper crop, there wasn’t much fruit around.

We did have some bright lights though; we set new records or tied records for the following species:
• Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2
• Cooper’s Hawk – 2
• Northern Saw-whet Owls – 62 (NOT a record but our 2nd highest total)
• 12 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers
• 9 Blue-headed Vireos
• 28 American Redstarts
• 7 Mourning Warblers
• 3 Connecticut Warblers
• 17 Scarlet Tanagers
• 37 Northern Cardinals
• 16 Indigo Buntings
• 28 Common Grackle (all at the same time – part of an estimated flock of >10,000)

So it’s all over but the crying (or rejoicing – depends on your point of view I guess). Much thanks to Nancy Furber, my right-hand….person, and to all the many people who contributed so much to make the banding program a great place to be….birds or no birds.

November 5th – Take Your Kid To Work Day

Alessandra and Ben - "my" two kids for the day.

Alessandra and Ben – “my” two kids for the day.


This was “take your kid to work day” in Ontario. Now my own kids are already working (and couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about bird banding) but I still got the chance to enjoy the day when a couple of parents pawned their kids off on me. (Actually, it was a treat….but don’t tell them.) Ben Oldfield has been coming to Ruthven for the past 4 years and Alessandra has been a regular (even skipping school for the opportunity) for the past month. So it was great to spend the day with this youthful energy and enthusiasm. So, years from now, if they turn out great, then you can credit me; if not…..blame their parents.

As for migrating birds: it’s all over but the crying. (Well, almost all over, we still have two days to go, finishing on the 7th). But the crying is warranted: the number of birds and the variety has dropped tremendously. We were talking about it today and were of the opinion that it “feels” like the end of November or December. Even Nancy, that eternal owling optimist, has decided to call it a day…or night – although her 62 owls, 2nd highest total, is quite noteworthy.

November 4th; Banded 31:
1 Blue Jay
1 Black-capped Chickadee
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Northern Cardinal
1 American Tree Sparrow
4 Fox Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 House Finches
12 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 27 spp.

November 5th; Banded 20:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 American Tree Sparrow
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Finch
12 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 30 spp.
Rick

November 3rd – Dribs and Drabs

Sporting a new band and ready to return to the wild.   -H. Scarfone

Sporting a new band and ready to return to the wild. -H. Scarfone


Sunday night's successful owl crew.   -B. Fotheringham

Sunday night’s successful owl crew. -B. Fotheringham


Last night’s owl group had good success, banding another 3 Northern Saw-whets, bringing the season total up to 62 – our second highest total. Owling seems to have become an event in and of itself with owls being just an added bonus. Irene Fotheringham is the hostess with the mostest keeping everyone supplied with goodies and conversation. The only thing she can’t guarantee is an owl.
Janet and Nancy banding a Saw-whet.    -H. Scarfone

Janet and Nancy banding a Saw-whet. -H. Scarfone


Applying the band to the heavily feathered leg can be tricky.  -H. Scarfone

Applying the band to the heavily feathered leg can be tricky. -H. Scarfone


Janet is obviously very happy with "her" bird.    -H. Scarfone

Janet is obviously very happy with “her” bird. -H. Scarfone


Heidi enjoying the moment.

Heidi enjoying the moment.

Irene Fotheringham, the owl program's mother hen.    -H. Scarfone

Irene Fotheringham, the owl program’s mother hen. -H. Scarfone


Bob in a (losing) staring contest with a Saw-whet.   -B. Fotheringham

Bob in a (losing) staring contest with a Saw-whet. -B. Fotheringham


These cute little flying squirrels can wreak havoc on our net trammel lines.  -J. Snaith

These cute little flying squirrels can wreak havoc on our net trammel lines. -J. Snaith


Today’s daylight banding wasn’t nearly so entertaining. We got dribs and drabs throughout the morning, ending up with 30 more birds banded – none of any earthshaking import.
A male Hairy Woodpecker is a handful.  -A. Wilcox

A male Hairy Woodpecker is a handful. -A. Wilcox


Banded 33:
1 Mourning Dove
3 Northern Saw-whet Owls (from last night)
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Hermit Thrush
2 American Tree Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco
2 House Finches
18 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 33 spp.
Rick

November 2nd – Benny Bands A Hooo

Ben with his Eastern Screech Owl.

Ben with his Eastern Screech Owl.


Not many people seem to have read (or have admitted to reading) Benny Bands A Hooo, the seminal work by Dr. Zoos which thrust the author into the vanguard of environmental activism. It went on to define the genre…..
Gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl.

Gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl.


Wing detail of an Eastern Screech Owl.  -I. Turjansky

Wing detail of an Eastern Screech Owl. -I. Turjansky

The book describes the challenges faced by the young Benny as he grows up and has to decide on the path to take: on the one hand, the conventional teenage road of drugs, sex and rock ‘n roll…and football and hockey, which he eschews, and, on the other, that of bird banding – the road less travelled. After many harrowing wrassles with his personal demons (and the voluptuous Fifi Larue) he emerges with the realization that only bird banding is the true path to enlightenment and personal satisfaction. I simply don’t understand why more people haven’t read it…..

Tessa with the gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl.

Tessa with the gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl.


Detail of the "lock-on" part of a lock-on band.    -I. Turjansky

Detail of the “lock-on” part of a lock-on band. -I. Turjansky

It was COLD this morning. The northerly wind driving the minus 1 temperature deep into your bones. Interestingly, there was no frost on the nets, which opened easily. Surprisingly, we caught 72 birds, 40 of which were bandless. I say surprisingly as the day felt like one in December when there isn’t much around.

A late Nashville Warbler.   -I. Turjansky

A late Nashville Warbler. -I. Turjansky

We had two “notables”: a very late Nashville Warbler and a very accommodating gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl. The warbler should have been well on its way to Mexico by now – if not there!. We suspected that the owl was around as we have been hearing it early in the morning of late. So Nancy decided to check the Wood Duck box below Net 2 which has been its traditional haunt over the years. And sure enough….

Birds inhabiting this box over the years have feasted on local avian cuisine. Bands found in pellets taken from the box came from a Blue Jay, 2 Song Sparrows, a Dark-eyed Junco, Swamp Sparrow, and 3 chickadees – all banded by us at Ruthven. All banders are keen to expand the range of birds that they can claim to have banded so Ben was VERY happy to get to band this one.
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Comparison: Ben with a Hairy Woodpecker and Tessa with a Downy.  -I. Turjansky

Comparison: Ben with a Hairy Woodpecker and Tessa with a Downy. -I. Turjansky


Banded 40:
1 Eastern Screech Owl
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Nashville Warbler
4 Northern Cardinals
3 American Tree Sparrows
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
2 Swamp Sparrows
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
17 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 31 spp.

November 1st – Military Musings

Bill Read and Alessandra looking for Golden Eagles during the census.

Bill Read and Alessandra looking for Golden Eagles during the census.


It was a cold, raw morning: brisk north wind driving a light drizzle deep into your bones. Soon the drizzle turned to snow flurries. I decided not to open nets, just set ground traps.
Part of today's cavalry......doing a net round.

Part of today’s cavalry……doing a net round.


Nancy in the new protocol-sanctioned Saw-whet Owl banding uniform - taken from WWI nursing attire.

Nancy in the new protocol-sanctioned Saw-whet Owl banding uniform – taken from WWI nursing attire.


Getting ready to reduce Ruthven's squirrel population.

Getting ready to reduce Ruthven’s squirrel population.


This was also a day dedicated to World War I history at Ruthven – the Thompson family had played a hand in this country’s military history. So there were a wide variety of artefacts (including vintage motorcycles) and re-enactors dressed in military garb from those times.
Marilynn finally finds someone that will talk to her. Actually this manakin was used to highlight the enormous guilt trip that was laid on WWI era mothers to encourage their sons to enlist.

Marilynn finally finds someone that will talk to her. Actually this manakin was used to highlight the enormous guilt trip that was laid on WWI era mothers to encourage their sons to enlist.


And I thought: how fitting that the weather was so lousy because many of the accounts I’ve read of that terrible war revolved around the horror of living in the trenches through weather just like this (or much worse). Only the participants couldn’t jump out of the trenches, grab a coffee and warm up in the heated Coach House. I simply can’t imagine how dreadful that life must have been – and that’s without the bombardments and sniper fire and throwing yourself against a firing machine gun as you cut through barb wire tangles just to “win” a couple of yards of dirt. As Bill Read reflected, we in Canada are very lucky (and unusual in the great scheme of things) that we have never had to fight in a war.
Unbeknownst to Gail Collins (serving coffee), Rob Gerrie is stealing a piece of pie.

Unbeknownst to Gail Collins (serving coffee), Rob Gerrie is stealing a piece of pie.


But he was caught!! As a punishment he and Jim have to wear aprons for the rest of the week. ("But I didn't do nothin'", says Jim.)

But he was caught!! As a punishment he and Jim have to wear aprons for the rest of the week. (“But I didn’t do nothin'”, says Jim.)


And then I got to thinking about birds and war zones. What impact does war have on them as it destroys their habitat, interrupts their nesting or impedes their migration. The loss of avian life must also be monumental. Think of the “Shock and Awe” campaign unleashed by the Americans on the hapless (and helpless) Iraqis not very long ago. The shock waves from the massive detonations were enough to cause neural damage in humans a long way away from the explosion site. What would such an explosion do to a bird. [To me the fact that military authorities knew that these explosions would have this effect and that they still deployed them in congested urban areas, filled with civilians, should be treated as a war crime.]
Nurse Ratchet and one that flew over the cuckoo's nest.

Nurse Ratchet and one that flew over the cuckoo’s nest.


But I digress……it was an interesting day of history and fun and if you missed it, you missed a lot. Oh, and did I mention the excellent members’ “thank you breakfast” that kicked off the event (and fed the banders gratis)?

The conditions had the birds hungry and we pulled 26 birds from the baited walk-in traps, 16 of which were “new” (unbanded) birds. Of the 10 retraps, 2 goldfinches had been banded in 2011, 1 in 2012 and 1 in 2013; we also had a junco banded in 2010 – 4 years old and had returned to Ruthven for the Winter each year.

Banded 16:
1 Mourning Dove
7 Dark-eyed Juncos
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 26 spp.