April 4th & 5th – Cool and Wet

On Thursday, the nets had a touch of frost and temperatures stayed cool throughout the day. Today, a steady rainfall kept the nets closed with just a couple traps set. Overall, two days that have been slow with the anticipation of warmer weather and busier days to come … possibly Saturday with winds from the south and the forecast of double digit temperatures! New for the season today was an Osprey over the river.

April 4th
Banded 18
2 Golden-crowned Kinglet
7 Song Sparrow
5 Slate-colored Junco
4 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 31 Species

April 5th
Banded 3
2 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 28 Species




April 3rd – WINDY!

The morning started off windy, even at first light. I opened all of the nets but had to gradually close them as the wind freshened throughout the morning. We left a few of the ‘sheltered’ nets open but eventually closed them with sustained wind gusts over 60 km/h. New for the season was a Northern Flicker. We handled a total of 24 birds of 7 species.

Banded 8
1 American Robin
2 Slate-colored Junco
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
4 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 37 species


April 2nd – Goldfinches!

A great day that wasn’t incredibly busy banding wise, but a nice mix of birds in the lab that were ideal for teaching a couple new volunteers.  On census, a new species for the season was a Winter Wren!  By mid-morning it was a beautiful sight to see ~25 Tree Swallows over the two meadows, checking out the nest boxes (which some of them still had a cap of snow)!  There was one Eastern Phoebe calling and on one net round, there were three Tufted Titmouse to process.

Three Tufted Titmice processed at the same time

In the blog yesterday, I neglected to mention Carol brought her delicious, homemade cookies for the start of migration monitoring.  Today, Matt served us these amazing Chocolate Cupcakes filled with salted caramel with vanilla buttercream frosting!  A busy time in the kitchen last night for him (and his Mom).

Energy for the volunteers – Salted caramel filled chocolate cupcakes, with vanilla butter cream frosting – MTT

We handled 70 birds today, with 37 retraps.  Some interesting retraps,  including one American Robin originally banded in 2016 as an adult male.

Banded 33
3 American Robin
5 Song Sparrow
5 Slate-colored Junco
20 American Goldfinches
ET’s: 39

Rick’s Rill in a wintry state

Today’s census crew

April 1st – Rolling Into A New Spring Season

Around March 15th Cyclone Idai moved in off the Indian Ocean and slammed into Mozambique and then quickly Malawi and Zimbabwe. Its 177 km/h winds and torrential rains left a trail of flooding and devastation in their wake. Hundreds were left dead and/or missing. Wildlife was also hit hard. But some birds, probably on the western edge of the storm survived although many were blown far from their wintering/breeding grounds. This must have been the case with this European Roller which turned up this morning along the river. Wow! Just imagine the flight it had just made! It stayed around just long enough for me to get a picture before disappearing.

In other news…
Our first day of banding was a sunny, beautiful day despite the cold temperatures and the snow that was left behind from Saturday’s snowfall. Nets were left closed today and the first few birds banded for the start of the spring season came from ground traps. Two new species for the season were first observed by Carol Jones – she saw Tree Swallows perched on the Motus Tower and the highlight was a flock of Greater White-fronted Geese which is new species for Ruthven! A fantastic day thanks to everyone who came!

Banded 5
1 Mourning Dove
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Song Sparrow
2 Slate-colored Junco
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 35 species


Goldfinch and Junco



Cardinal and Downy Woodpecker

Tree Swallow

American Goldfinch

A white-breasted nuthatch in nice shape