April 30th – Halfway!

Finally, a long-distance migrant: Northern Waterthrush. -JNJ

We’ve been going at it for 30 days straight; we’re half way through the migration. There hasn’t been much to write about. Day after day of cold, wet, windy weather resulting in low banding numbers and variety. Our April total of 535 birds banded is well below our 8-year average of 744. We were notably below average for birds banded per day in each 10-day trimester.

Most people have been putting the blame on these reduced results on the weather. It’s tempting to explain them away like this but too convenient. The truth is much more complex. Mist nets come with 5 “panels”. The nets are attached to poles with tethers; since there are 5 panels there are 6 tethers. Usually the outside tethers are coloured, green and white; the rest are black. Sometimes only the one is coloured (green). Now it’s a well-known fact that for a net to be maximally effective the green tether HAS TO BE AT THE TOP OF THE POLE. There are years of in-depth research to support this position. When we were putting up the nets I tried to pass this wisdom on to the younger volunteers (which covers just about everyone). To my surprise – and chagrin – this wisdom was pooh-poohed and the nets went up willy-nilly with little regard to tether colour placement! No wonder it has been such a dismal month……the weather was just a sideshow.

Banded 17:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (the 1st female)
2 European Starlings
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Northern Waterthrush
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 49 spp.

Male Myrtle Warblers continue to filter through the site in small numbers. -JNJ

Some years we don’t see Red-breasted Nuthatches but there’s been at least a couple around all Spring. -JNJ

As you can see from the retrap card, this female Red-winged Blackbird was banded as an ASY (After Second Year) bird in May 2014 making her at least 7 years old. -NRF

The older female Red-winged Blackbird. Note the dark salmon colouring on the throat and lores and the bright red in the shoulder. Young birds aren’t nearly so bright. -NRF

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