April 17th – It’s Go Time!

One of Five Hermit Thrushes banded today. Note the buff tips to the greater secondary coverts. This indicates that this bird is a “young” one; i.e., hatched last Spring/Summer.


Short- to medium-distance migrants can adjust their migration timing to compensate for bad weather but only up to a point. Somewhere along the line endogenous drives kick in and they “have” to get going. The weather conditions this Spring have held up a lot of this movement but the time has come where they have to get underway whenever and however they can. This played out today. There was a slight southerly side to the wind (WSW) to help birds along, marginally. So, despite the cold, birds were on the move. These tended to be species that winter here and breed farther north (like American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos) or those that winter in the middle States and breed in the north (like Golden-crowned Kinglets and Hermit Thrushes).

We could feel the push today as Ruthven abounded with all of these species. And…..we had 3 Purple Martins, very long-distance migrants, show up today!! Yesterday, Nancy and I put up 4 gourds in our nesting array just in case birds did come back – they would have someplace to sit out the weather. And wouldn’t you know it: I watched as, in the middle of a snow squall, they all poured into the same gourd at about the same time. Our timing couldn’t have been better.

So, things are on the move, bad weather notwithstanding. And when it improves I’m predicting a huge movement. I hope that some of it shows up here.

Banded 61:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
9 Golden-crowned Kinglets
5 Hermit Thrushes
8 American Tree Sparrows
6 Song Sparrows
3 Swamp Sparrows
19 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 Brown-headed Cowbirds
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 39 spp.
Rick

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