April 19th – Taking Advantage

A reward for braving the conditions – American Woodcock. -FAS

The forecast for this morning was abysmal and a great reason to just shut off the alarm and go back to sleep; hell, a great reason to not even set the alarm. But this is weather and, by its very nature, capricious. And the only place to make a decision about whether to proceed or not is at the banding lab – boots on the ground, so to speak. And it wasn’t raining there…and it didn’t start to rain for a couple of hours into the morning. So we opened some nets and traps and tried to take advantage of this rain reprieve. And it’s a good thing we did as one of the first birds of the day was an American Woodcock. It was only the 9th one banded at the station and just the 2nd banded in the Spring. So it was a treat and caused us to consider the poor decisions by those who chose to stay in bed this morning based on a forecast…..and to pat ourselves smugly on the back for our good decision.

Carol had never seen a woodcock before – and got to release it; down by Net 4 where I had been hearing it early in in the morning for the past 2 weeks. -FAS

The rain started shortly into the census, lightly at first but growing in intensity – Carol and Faye were quite wet by the end. We closed when the intensity increased.

Banded 15:
1 American Woodcock
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robin
5 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
3 Swamp Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 43 spp.

Fern Hill Burlington – March 18th:

A treat: Northern Mockingbird. -KAP

Thursday was a fantastic day at Fern Hill, the kind of day where you go home full to the brim with gratitude to the birds for bringing together a really inspirational group of birders and students. Janice invited Nicole Richardson to the school who was so warm and friendly, and just brimming with interesting facts and stories about her experiences banding raptors. She spent the morning with us in the Field Station, and gave a Lunch and Learn talk in our school’s science room leaving the students “enRAPTURED” with her stories and photographs of hawks, owls, shrikes, and falcons. I’m so grateful to Janice for inviting her inspiring birder friends, first Ross Wood last week and then Nicole, to our school to share their passions with myself and the school community and inspire the next generation of birders.

Nicole in the banding lab. – KAP

Lunch and Learn with Nicole. -KAP

Checking out different band sizes. -KAP

Banded 21 birds of 11 species:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 American Robin
1 Northern Mockingbird
4 European Starlings
1 American Tree Sparrow
1 Chipping Sparrow
6 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
2 Common Grackles
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 39 spp.

Perhaps Nicole brought some good luck along with her, because we caught On Thursday morning we caught our FIRST EVER Northern Mockingbird! This neat bird is in the Mimidae family along with Catbirds, Cuckoos, and Thrashers. They have a wide range of calls and can mock or mimic a variety of sounds.

Releasing the mockingbird. -KAP

Our lucky catch led to a thoughtful conversation with some of my older students as Mockingbirds have long held a special place in folklore and stories, perhaps the most well known example is Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird“. In this story the mockingbird is used a symbol to represent innocence. Perhaps our first catch of a Mockingbird on the weekend of Earth Day is fitting as we all reflect upon the beauty, resilience, innocence, and fragility of nature, and consider ways in which we can make a positive impact on the world around us.
More Photos:

Greasing the nestbox poles – Troy ad Sophie. -KAP

Early Bluebird eggs – despite the weather conditions!! -KAP

Birds of a feather band together: Janice and Nicole. -KAP

The Three Amigas: Katherine, Janice, and Nicole. -KAP

Happy Earth Day,

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