April 16th – Data Entry

The rain started in the middle of the night and, by the time I arrived at 6:00, 10.5 mm had fallen…and it was still coming down. Now, in my pre-retirement days I would have blown the day off, rolled over and gone back to sleep. But I had made a resolution that I would not spend a week during the Christmas Holidays entering all the data. This year I would stay on top of it. So I trundled off to the banding lab to catch up.

The rain was coming down steadily but I noticed that the birds were hitting the feeders and the areas under the feeders pretty hard so I thought what the heck, why not put out the traps? Besides, I could hear the first Eastern Towhee of the year and could see the first Purple Finch and wouldn’t they be nice to catch…..? So between bouts of entering data I emptied the traps and, by the time I was done, I’d captured 46 birds.

The rain gave us a short reprieve and Mike Furber arrived to take advantage of it by doing the census. He got 42 species including 2 Purple Martins, a Fox Sparrow, some White-throated Sparrows, and 3 Rusty Blackbirds (as well as the towhee and Purple Finch).

We retrapped 10 American Tree Sparrows. For the past 2 weeks we’ve noticed that they weren’t carrying much fat – the fuel of migration. But all the birds we got today had put on fat and weight (compared to their most recent prior handling). They are getting ready to go and for some I don’t think we’ll see them again as soon as the conditions change in favour of migration. They’ll be on their way. (I wonder if they carry a mental image of their nesting area.)

Banded 24:
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
10 Dark-eyed Juncos
7 Brown-headed Cowbirds
5 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 22:
10 American Tree Sparrows
3 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 House Finch

ET’s: 48 spp.


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