April 17th – Strong Winds

I woke up several times during the night to the sound of the wind moaning through the trees and the wind chimes clanging – I thought they were supposed to have a restful sound….The winds were strong when I arrived at 6:00 and did not abate during the morning; in fact, if anything they grew stronger. (I later noticed on the net that they were blowing steadily out of the WSW at close to 50 km/hr with gusts to over 80.) So there was no point in opening the nets. I set out all the ground traps we had to see what we could get. Even these didn’t get much action as I think the birds were reluctant to leave any shelter they’d managed to find to feed more in the open. It’s neat how the birds find microhabitats to meet their needs when the conditions are poor. The best place for migrants today was in the comparative shelter of the creek valley. Creepers, kinglets, junco, Myrtle Warblers and even a pair of Eastern Bluebirds were busily foraging in the shrub layer out of the wind.

There were very few ‘new’ birds around – we banded only 10 and Peter Thoem had only 26 species on census. The birds, despite the poor weather, are ready to go as soon as the conditions improve. Almost all the juncos and tree sparrows we caught had good fat loads and weights; they just need a warming trend and a friendly wind. The fat will also help them get through this bad period – especially the snow squalls that we got this afternoon.

Banded 10:
1 Chipping Sparrow
7 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds

Retrapped 26:
1 Mourning Dove
5 American Tree Sparrows
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Field Sparrows
3 Song Sparrows
12 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds

ET’s: 41 spp.


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