August 6th – The Joy Of Passerines

This (very appropriate) sign has gone up in my absence.

For two months in Svalbard the only passerine I saw was the Snow Bunting. Now don’t get me wrong, I really like Snow Buntings but….I like a lot of other passerines as well. As yesterday’s storms had swept the heat and humidity from the skies, I headed over to Ruthven to fill feeders, check on the net lanes and… a net and maybe, just maybe band a bird or two – a little bird that isn’t likely to hurt if it gets hold of your finger.

The net lanes are in great shape and ready to go. The sunflower seed feeders were empty and needed to be filled – they’re getting lots of activity. But the latest additions are a host of hummingbird feeders. This explained the many hummingbirds that I saw – all of these feeders needed filling too.

This one has been in place for several months.

And there were lots of passerines. Young birds have or are fledging and the forest edges and the sky were alive with them. Frankly, it was exciting and got me thinking about the Fall banding season just around the corner. (Actually, if we had the time and wherewithall, we should start migration monitoring now as some species are on the move – Yellow Warblers for instance.) As well as the “usual” daily banding (which will start on September 1st), we will once again go after Saw-whet Owls in October. That’s always interesting and, at times, exciting. But another thing I’d like to try is to put a 5-net chain across the Butterfly Meadow in October. Last year we witnessed a lot of sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers moving through it from north to south. I’d like to tap into that flow this year.

Just one of 4 Purple Martins (the other 3 were adult males) still hanging around.

And just to spice things up, I recently got word from the banding office about a couple of “our” birds:

An American Robin that we banded on October 29, 2010 was recovered on May 11, 2012 on North Shore Blvd. in Burlington. And some of you will remember the hordes of Cedar Waxwings we handled last Fall (700+ banded). One of them, banded as a HY (Hatch Year) bird on November 1, 2012, was recovered on February 17, 2012 in Williamson County, Tennessee!

If you’re interested in taking part in the banding program at Ruthven this Fall, don’t hesitate to contact me.



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