December 18th – The First “Substantial” Snow Fall

First snow of the year.

It was with great excitement that I took in the view early this morning: snow! Yes, snow was falling and it was cold enough that it was staying on the ground. My first thought was Snow Buntings but….there was only about a centimeter. We’d need a lot more than that to bring them in.

View from the banding lab of the first snow...that stayed for any length of time.

Snowy North entrance to the Carolinian Trail.

I headed off to Ruthven. We keep 3 net lanes open through the Winter – all associated with feeders – in order to sample resident and wintering birds. Given the conditions, I figured the birds would be hitting the feeders fairly hard, and I was right. There was a constant stream of goldfinches, House Finches, woodpeckers, etc. going and forth between the feeders and the woods. [For the longest time now I have watched White-breasted Nuthatches fly in, take a sunflower seed, and then fly off to hide it somewhere. Back and forth, back and forth, all day long. Somewhere out there there’s got to be a gigantic stash of sunflower seeds!] By the time I closed up the nets and flipped the few traps I had out, we had handled 79 birds – 44 new banded and 35 retraps.

Usually I don’t do much banding in December but this year, with all we’ve done month by month, we have a real shot at hitting 10,000 banded for the year; we need just over 70 to reach that lofty plateau. So here I am….

Novice (but potential) bander Anders Klaus with a Blue Jay.

Banded 44:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Hairy Woodpecker
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Blue Jay
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
4 House Finches
33 American Goldfinches

Anne Klaus explaining the finer points of a Red-bellied Woodpecker to her son Anders.

Retrapped 35:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
4 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
2 Black-capped Chickadees
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
5 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Finch
19 American Goldfinches

Evidence of a squirrel going for a Mansion tour....'tis the season.

Snow-covered "hibernaculum" - which is Latin for "snake bawdy house".


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