August 21st – Revving Up

Male Blue-winged Warbler - the yellow in the wingbars suggests some Golden-winged genetic remnants.

Male Blue-winged Warbler – the yellow in the wingbars suggests some Golden-winged genetic remnants.


I was out banding this past Tuesday and again today. I was getting news from other stations (along coasts) that migrant warblers were beginning to show up in good numbers and I wanted to see if we were getting them at Ruthven. (Our migration monitoring season starts September 1st and runs daily until November 7th.) If migrants are on the move they will often bunch up at shorelines waiting until dark to cross a large expanse of water where, otherwise, they would be highly vulnerable to avian predation. But this isn’t the case so much inland – migrants that we see have come down at daylight to feed and rest and get ready for the next stage….unless of course they have run into bad weather (rain, headwinds, etc.) in which case they may come to ground in large numbers and seek shelter.
A very handsome Yellow-throated Vireo.

A very handsome Yellow-throated Vireo.


Young male Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker.

Young male Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker.


Young female Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Young female Red-bellied Woodpecker.


During these two days we banded 64 birds (28 on Tuesday; 36 today). We got a mix of young birds and adults – about two thirds to one third. Quite often the young of a particular species was caught with the adult of that species suggesting that the parent was still “caring” for it. As well, when removing young birds it was common to hear the adult scolding us. So…the young have not quite fledge yet and/or are in the process of doing so. Most of the adults were going through a complete moult, replacing flight feathers (which they’d had since last year and were often worn and tattered). So very soon the young will be completely on their own and will begin to disperse – heading out in all directions to check out the area, and beyond (most of the time birds that are found way out of their normal range are dispersing youngsters). And the adults will either commence their moult or finish an already started one. Then it will be time to put on fat, the fuel that will power them south.
This Veery was carrying a good fat load and weighed over 36 grams; if it's not on the way south, it soon will be.

This Veery was carrying a good fat load and weighed over 36 grams; if it’s not on the way south, it soon will be.


With one exception, all the birds captured during these two days had almost no fat. The exception was a Veery that we caught today: it had a fat score of ‘3’ and weighed over 36 grams – about 10 grams more than its fat-free weight. This bird was on its way.
Young Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Note the rufous panels on the wing.

Young Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Note the rufous panels on the wing.


Note the old brown secondary feather surrounded by newly moulted black flight feathers - this is a SY or Second Year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Note the old brown secondary feather surrounded by newly moulted black flight feathers – this is a SY or Second Year male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.


Drab brown flight feathers of this young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak will be retained until the end of next year's breeding season.

Drab brown flight feathers of this young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak will be retained until the end of next year’s breeding season.


Bright rose-coloured breast (like the one on this SY male) is missing in the young (HY) male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

Bright rose-coloured breast (like the one on this SY male) is missing in the young (HY) male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.


There's just a hint of rose on the breast of this young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

There’s just a hint of rose on the breast of this young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.


Tuesday, August 19th; Banded 28:
2 Mourning Doves
2 Eastern Wood Pewees
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Tufted Titmouse
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Blue-bray Gnatcatchers
3 American Robins
4 Gray Catbirds
5 Red-eyed Vireos
1 Blue-winged Warbler
2 Northern Cardinals
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 House Finch

ET’s: 32 spp.

Thursday, August 21st; Banded 36:
4 Mourning Doves
1 Yellow-billed Cuckoo
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
2 Tufted Titmice
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
3 House Wrens
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
1 Veery
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
1 Yellow-throated Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warblers
4 Common Yellowthroats
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Field Sparrow
3 Song Sparrows

ET’s: 44 spp.

Often mistaken for Jacques Cousteau, Zander Ressel paid us a visit after returning from two weeks of underwater research in Cuba.

Often mistaken for Jacques Cousteau, Zander Ressel paid us a visit after returning from two weeks of underwater research in Cuba.


Rick

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