April 9th – An Exciting Return

A good alternative activity on a slow banding day. -P Ruttan

Just before 7:00 Matt Timpf and I were standing outside the lab talking and counting when he pointed out, high directly overhead, an adult male Purple Martin! We moved quickly over to the Purple Martin houses, which had been lowered during the Winter for cleaning and to reduce wind damage, to raise them, all the time keeping the bird in sight. As soon as we got them raised, the bird flew over them and within 30 m. of us. It then flew off to the SW and wasn’t seen for the rest of the day. Was this a scout checking out the “old” nesting site to see if it was ready? We’ll soon see. There’s something exciting about the martins coming “home” to roost.

Just part of the string of kids helping do net rounds. - S. Oldfield

The wind today played havoc with the nets and, consequently, with catching. Right off the hop we didn’t open all of the nets, leaving the most exposed nets furled. But through the morning the winds got stronger forcing us to close many of those that were open early. And as Murphy’s Law would have it, this was the worst day for this to happen as we had >35 visitors, most of them young kids, and all keen to see birds up close. On one net round I had a string of children strug out behind me all with great hopes and expectations…unfortunately dashed. Or just about dashed…we did end up handling 22 birds, hardly enough, spread out over 6 hours, to deep young children on the edges of their proverbial seats.

Male Golden-crowned Kinglet.


Ben (and Mom Stephanie) processing a bird. - P. Ruttan

Banded 11:
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
2 Field Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
5 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 11:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 American Robin
2 American Tree Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 45 spp.

Budding bird bander, Joanne Fleet, and husband Jeff (a pilot, which is the next closest thing to a bird….) brought a large group of friends and neighbours, with their kids, to Ruthven for a picnic and to see some birds up close. One of these friends, Peter Ruttan, is a skilled photographeer and took a number of excellent pictures. Here’s some of them:

Taking a break by the river. - P. Ruttan


Future site of a lookout along the Fox Den Trail. - P. Ruttan


Tree Swallows claiming a nest box. - P. Ruttan


Hiking the Fox Den Trail. - P. Ruttan

A Dekay's Brown Snake (I think). -P. Ruttan

We seem to be getting an increased number of Field Sparrows. - P Ruttan


The weigh-in. -P. Ruttan

The wonder of a bird up close. P. Ruttan

Ben Oldfield hard at work learning the science of bird study, - P. Ruttan


Ben (and Mom Stephanie) processing a bird. - P. Ruttan


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