October 8th – Hit the Ground Running

What subtle beauty – a Lincoln’s Sparrow. -MMG

A busy morning with volunteers, visitors and birds to process. Today was Ruthven’s 22nd ‘Annual Cars in the Park Car Cruise’ and it was a beautiful day with well over 250 cars parked all around the mansion. Visitors from the car show and families visiting the park swelled well over seventy people coming into the banding lab. We handled a total of 121 birds, so the banding lab was a hive of activity from the opening to the closing of nets and welcoming everyone to see and experience birds up close.

Banded 94:

How the Yellow-shafted (Northern) Flicker got its name. -PIS

2 Yellow-shafted Flicker
1 Tufted Titmouse
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Brown Creeper
2 Golden-crowned Kinglet
6 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 American Robin
22 Cedar Waxwing
1 Tennessee Warbler

Male Yellow-rumped (or, I prefer, Myrtle) Warbler. -KMP

30 Yellow-rumped Warbler

A late long-distance migrant: Black-throated Green Warbler. -PIS

1 Black-throated Green
2 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
3 Song Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow. -MMG

1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
11 White-throated Sparrow
1 Slate-colored Junco
2 Purple Finch
2 American Goldfinch

Caleb….in an avian reverie. -PIS

ET’s: 41 species

October 7th –

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler -BGO

Today started off overcast, humid, with a light mist and a wind coming out of the North. I was thinking the mist would keep migrants grounded over night but I heard a few Myrtle Warblers giving chip notes overhead at 0630, well before sunrise. These birds may have chosen to migrate over the very low cloud ceiling and take advantage of the North winds. The banding day was never busy, but net rounds were always producing some birds giving us a total of 68 birds banded. I was interested by the numbers of warblers, including long distance warblers, still hanging around like Tennessee, Black throated blue, Black throated green, Blackpoll and Nashville. We retrapped 27 birds, proving a considerable amount of birds hung round last night for another visit to the banding station! I would like to thank the great volunteers that helped out today and made the day fun. To Rick’s and Nancy’s excitement, many volunteers will have to own up to the McMaster rule and bring freshly baked goods for next time!

Banded 68:
Swainson’s Thrush – 2
Hermit Thrush – 2
American Robin – 4
Eastern Phoebe – 1
Cedar Waxwing – 2
Ruby Crowned Kinglet – 10
Golden crowned Kinglet – 3
Black capped Chickadee – 2
Myrtle Warbler – 19

Blackpoll Warbler -BGO

Blackpoll Warbler – 1
Black-throated Blue Warbler – 2

Black-throated Green Warbler -BGO

Black-throated Green Warbler – 2

Tennessee Warbler -BGO

Tennessee Warbler – 4
Nashville Warbler – 3
Northern Cardinal – 1
Chipping Sparrow – 1
White-throated Sparrow – 7
Song Sparrow – 2
Slate Coloured Junco – 1

Retrapped Orange-crowned Warbler -BGO

ET: 49 spp.
Ben Oldfield

October 6th – A Window Of Opportunity

Jaqueline with her first banded bird – Cedar Waxwing. -NRF

After a rough weathered start to the morning (early thunderstorms and rain), we had a brief respite from the rain and were able to open up some nets before it came down again. What we didn’t expect was the amount of birds we’d catch, which quickly overwhelmed the two of us. Luckily (the ailing) Rick was just a phone call away and then some awesome University of Guelph students showed up. We were able to show them how to scribe and they picked it up quickly to help us out so we were able to “fly” through the large amount of birds we had! And when things slowed down they were able to band a couple of birds as well.

For any mammalogists out there: we found this dead weasel on the trail. Is it a long-tailed or short-tailed weasel. -NRF

Nice to see that the Cedar Waxwings have arrived en masse again.
Banded 89:
2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers
1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1 Tufted Titmouse
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
8 Golden-crowned Kinglet
6 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Hermit Thrush
8 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
32 Cedar Waxwings
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 Nashville Warbler
12 Myrtle Warblers
1 Song Sparrow
11 White-throated Sparrows
2 Slate-coloured Junco

Ritchie with a Cedar Waxwing. -NRF

ET’s: 34 spp.

Chirayu with a White-throated Sparrow. -NRF


October 5th – 99!

White-breasted Nuthatch (left); Red-breasted Nuthatch )right). -NRF

What do you think of when you hear the number 99? Why Wayne Gretzky of course, the Great One! Unless of course you’re tallying things up at the Ruthven banding lab in which case you think: rats! One more bird and we would have had 100 and a Big Day. And so it was at Ruthven today. Here’s Sir Sanford Fleming’s Xavier Tuson’s take on the day:

After a semi-slow day yesterday, the weather finally cooperated and brought with it clear skies (as in no precipitation, finally..), cool temperatures, and most importantly, birds! Compared to our previous best count of 68 banded, we had a total of 99 birds banded today (21 species overall, with only 11 recaptures!) making it a new record for this season.

As part of our effort to breed the next generation of ornithologists, we even had the pleasure of teaching some school children the intricacies of bird banding and bird watching. What a treat it is to see enthusiasm coming from such a young crowd. Hopefully we instilled a seed of curiosity in them that will one day bring them back to become volunteers themselves!

A net full of Cedar Waxwings. -NRF

Banded 99:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch. -NRF

1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
18 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Swainson’s Thrush
20 Cedar Waxwings
1 Tennessee Warbler
2 Orange-crowned Warbler
15 Myrtle Warblers

Western Palm Warbler. -NRF

1 Western Palm Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow

First Fox Sparrow of the season. -NRF

1 Fox Sparrow
3 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
9 White-throated Sparrows

Eastern White Crowned Sparrows: black & white adult (left); brown & tan juvenile (right). -NRF

4 White-crowned Sparrows
13 Slate-colored Juncos
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 51 spp.

Ben with a great first round!

And at Lowville Park Banding Station, Ben Oldfield was having a pretty good day too. Here’s his take on it:
The morning started off with lots of White throated sparrows chipping, augurs well for a good day. In this case 75% of the birds were captured on the first round! Banded a total of 32 birds in 4 hours.