April 16th – Heatin’ Up

Despite this spate of lousy weather both here and to the south of us, migrants can only hold back so long. They are internally driven to move north….and they’ve started to do so in bigger numbers. Both Ruthven and The Oakville campus of Fern Hill experienced some of this today. Thanks goodness; it was getting tedious.

This adult male American Kestrel is only the 2nd one we’ve banded at Ruthven. -MB

Ruthven Park:
What a fantastic day! Now, there could be a few reasons for this … To start the morning, the winds were light and it was a beautiful sunrise with the pink sky and warm sun topping the horizon. There were two Purple Martins at the gourds (Rick saw the first one for the season yesterday). At opening, there was a pulse of bird activity and song along the net lanes, with the anticipation and promise of a busier day! The first net round we were handling Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Thrasher and new for the season were Swamp Sparrows! It was great having David Brewer back, engaging with the large school group and sharing his wealth of knowledge. New for the season was the first Myrtle Warbler and …. the highlight for me was banding my first American Kestrel! Everything went well handling and banding this beautiful raptor! At closing, the rain had settled in, feeling cool and damp. So, it was a fantastic day that was busy and exciting! Not only with the birds we handled but also, the birds that we could hear calling throughout the morning. In total, we handled 73 birds!

This kestrel was a banding first for Nancy. What a great feeling that is! -MB

Applying a 3B band to the kestrel. -MB

Fait accompli. -MB

Banded 48

American Kestrel -CAJ

1 American Kestrel
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Tree Swallow
1 Carolina Wren
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets

2nd Brown Thrasher of the year. -NRF

1 Brown Thrasher

1st Myrtle Warbler of the year – a young (SY) male. -NRF

1 Myrtle Warbler
4 Chipping Sparrow

Comparison: 3 sparrows with a rufous head- Chipping (left), Field (middle), and Swamp (right). -NRF

4 Field Sparrow
3 Song Sparrow
6 Swamp Sparrow

Swamp Sparrows are subtle but very handsome don’t you think? -NRF

3 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 Brown-headed Cowbirds
13 American Goldfinches

This male American Goldfinch was originally banded as a young or “hatch year” bird on November 27th, 2012. -NRF

ET’s: 44

Fern Hill – Oakville Campus:
I took in the beautiful sunrise as well and contemplated the old adage of “red sky in the morning, sailors take warning” but I also knew from the forecast that the morning was going to be good…..and so it was! We were catching right from the getgo. We banded 49 birds but what is uncanny (to me, anyhow) is that well over half – 32 – were Black-capped Chickadees. As I noted last week when we banded a total of 31 over two days, these birds are on the move, all carrying big fat loads. Why are we getting them at Fern Hill. My guess is that these migrant chickadees had been moving along the forested area along the nearby creek when they ran into this rash of poor weather. Mr. Hinks has been keeping our feeders topped uo and feeding a large number of local birds. I think the migrants became aware of this feeding behaviour and decided to join in. As well as the new birds today, we retrapped a number chickadees that we had banded last week – so they have been sticking around, taking advantage of this rich food source and waiting out the cold.

One of the Black-capped Chickadees we banded today had white central rectrices. -KAP

Banded 49:
1 Eastern Phoebe
32 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper

First Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the year at Oakville campus. -KAP

1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 American Robin
1 Song Sparrow
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
5 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Common Grackle
1 Brown-headed Grackle
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 32 spp.

Leave a Reply