April 24th – Spinning Our Wheels

Red-bellied Woodpeckers. -B. Fotheringham

It’s been quite pleasant for the past two days (certainly when compared to the rest of the month) and while we’re seeing a few migrants trickling through we haven’t been seeing the large numbers we’d expect for this time of year.

Two returning (see the bands) Tree Swallows take charge of a nest box. -KMP

April 23rd; Banded 26:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Black-capped Chickadee
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets (1st of the year)
1 American Tree Sparrow
3 Chipping Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
7 Brown-headed Cowbirds
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 42 spp.

This female Northern Cardinal, banded on January 20th, 2016, helps out with the processing. They aren’t always so accommodating. -KMP

April 24th:
Opening nets this morning to the beautiful chorus of White-throated Sparrows singing. Anticipating a busier day today, but banding numbers were low with a mix of species. Rain is in the forecast for tonight so we’ll see what tomorrow brings in the way of ‘new’ migrants. There’s still a few American Tree Sparrows and Slate-colored Juncos but the bulk of them are gone, migrating north to their breeding grounds. Only one Purple Martin observed today. It’s getting late in the month and we’re concerned about our colony and the absence of Purple Martins at our apartments/gourd complex. New species for today included Spotted Sandpiper and Eastern Meadlowlark.

Turkey Vultures have been pouring through over the last couple of weeks. -KMP

Red Squirrels – cute little things but can be voracious nest predators. -B. Fotheringham

Ospreys have been back for a few days now but we’re not sure where they’re nesting. -KMP

Banded 21
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Tree Swallow
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 American Robin
1 American Tree Sparrow
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbird
5 Brown-headed Cowbird
3 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 37 spp.

Students enjoying some sunny weather (finally!).

Fern Hill Burlington; April 23rd:
Another gorgeous day at Fern Hill Burlington and a great day of banding. I gave my students the “homework” on Friday-to spend lots of time outdoors with their families this weekend and I was happy to hear lots of stories from them about their Earth Day excursions over the weekend. I’m glad I teach at a school where we celebrate nature and living things in every Field Studies class, but Earth Day is a special time to reflect on how grateful we are for our planet. Mother Earth certainly didn’t disappoint today! We were busy with lots of birds to learn about and show the students. We banded a total of 19 birds today, recaptured 6 including another Black-capped chickadee banded in 2013. It’s great to see older birds returning again and again! This one had been sexed as female, and this time around it looked as though she may have had an egg inside her so she was handled very delicately and quickly released. Today was a great day for sparrows, we lucked out and caught House Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow all around the same time so we were able to photograph and examine them all at the same time. I love it when they cooperate with my lesson plans!

Ruby-crowned Kinglets have just started to work their way through the area. -KAP

We banded 19:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 American Robins
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
8 American Goldfinches
2 House Sparrows

Seasonal Firsts include our Swamp Sparrow and an Eastern Meadowlark!

For comparison: Field Sparrow (left) and Chipping Sparrow (right). -KAP

For comparison: Song Sparrow (left), Chipping Sparrow (middle), and Field Sparrow (right). -KAP

Fern Hill Oakville; April 24th:
The nets weren’t particularly busy but we did have a good passage of migrants streaming by including 6 firsts for the year: Common Loon, Eastern Phoebe, Barn Swallow, Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Eastern Meadowlark. We also had an Eastern Bluebird checking out one of our nest boxes!

Banded 15:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Brown Creeper
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
5 American Robins
1 American Tree Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 38 spp.

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