April 26th – Anticipation

Gabbing on a slow day - lots of banders but no birds to show.....

For quite a while now I’ve been looking forward with anticipation. It can’t happen soon enough for me but it seems to be taking forever. I know it’s just around the corner and I won’t be waitng in vain but…

Somewhere south of us there’s a whack of birds winging their way north – the long-distance migrants have been on their way for a month now at least. And I know they’ll be here any time now. I thought today would be the day. No wind, overcast skies, end of April, an “early” Spring to start with. Yes, this morning I fully expected the first Yellow Warbler and Rose-breasted Grosbeak to be singing, and maybe even caught and banded. But, no, it was another slow day in which we banded only 15 birds and handled 31 – none of them Yellow Warblers or grosbeaks.

New bird bags from Loretta - anatomically and aesthetically correct.

The only real “highlight” was a flight of 18 Common Loons that went over, in one’s and two’s, all headed N, within about half an hour of what would have been sunrise, if it hadn’t been cloudy. Other than that it was very quiet and it felt almost odd to be walking along the forested trails with trees and shrubs all leafed out as they would be in mid-May but with no warblers singing. Shades of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Almost eerie.

Banded 15:
1 Tree Swallow
1 House Wren
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Field Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
5 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 16:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Tree Swallow
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 House Wren
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
1 Field Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 51 spp.

Darroch Whitaker in Newfoundland sent this interesting item:

A Raven of reknown. - D. Whitaker

I thought I’d also send you a quick note about an interesting byproduct of
our bunting banding this spring. The raven in the attached picture sat on
top of the lighthouse most of the time we were banding as his mate has a
nest on the cliffs below. The light makes quite a nice perch for a raven it
seems and one day I was watching him I noticed that he was banded, which
gave me a nice project for times when the bunting action was slow. After a
bit of work with the telephoto lens and spotting scope I was able to read
his band number. It turns out he was banded as a chick in the same nest his
mate is now using, but that was way back in 1999(!). He’ll be 13 this
summer, which (according to the Birds of North America) makes him just shy
of being the oldest known wild raven on record. Still that’s well short of
the lifespan of captive ravens so it will be fun to watch this guy see how
long he sticks around. Hopefully he’ll be a part of the Lobster Cove Head
CSBN team for years to come!

Darroch showing friends Danny Major and Allison Eaton the joys of bunting banding. - C. Ibrahim

And for you banders or banders-in-waiting, Marie-Pier passed on this banding photo quiz to test your skills:



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