April 19th – Another Day of Cold, Northerly Winds

We’re still waiting for Spring. There was frost on the nets first thing this morning and even by census time it was barely 1 degree. But it was the wind that you noticed: cold and ‘raw’, out of the NE. We handled only about half the number that we did yesterday and you got the distinct impression that there weren’t as many birds around. Where did they go? If I was one of them, I’d be headed south.

We saw 18 Common Loons this morning – most within 1 hour of sunrise. All of them were headed due north. What do they know that I don’t…..?

One retrap that we got was a SY (second year; i.e., hatched last year) Tree Swallow. It was banded as a nestling by Christine Madliger and Chris Harris – they are studying the effects of stress on nesting success in this species. The neat thing is that these birds are monitored by them REALLY well so we know a lot more about them. Following is the information that Chris sent me on this bird [it was found in nest box 164]:

“164 is a box just off the road on the north side of Indiana. 2401-68466, or the artist formerly known as left leg green, was one of 5 children. He began life as either the 4th, 5th, or 6th egg his young mother laid that year. Either way, he was a 1.8g egg laid May 19th (give or take a day). He hatched June 3rd with 2 of his siblings. His 2 younger siblings took another day or two to hatch. The last time we handled him his wing was only 48 mm. and he weighed 20.90g (2 grams heavier than his mother at that point). All 5 fledged and the family was frequently spotted sitting on their box or along the fence for a month after. His mother is 2401-68342 and I hope we see her again since it will be very cool to see how her stress level changes since she is no longer SY.” Wouldn’t it be neat to know where its travels took it in the preceding 10 months!?

Banded 27:
1 Blue Jay
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Eastern Bluebird
1 American Tree Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Red-winged Blackbird
6 Brown-headed Cowbirds
6 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 38:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Tree Swallow
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 American Robin
7 American Tree Sparrows
3 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
6 Song Sparrows
11 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
4 American Goldfinches

Et’s: 44 spp.

Rick

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