February 13th – CSBN Updates & An Interesting Black-capped Chickadee

Leucistic Black-capped Chickadee - R. Mueller

This just in today from Rob Mueller:
Hi Rick,
I thought you might find this interesting. A leucistic or partially anyways… Black-capped Chickadee. We stumbled upon him in a small flock in Algonquin Park, up Opeongo Road this past Saturday. Interesting looking little fellow, eh?


- R. Mueller

- R. Mueller

CSBN Updates From Ontario:

I (Rick Ludkin, just outside of Cayuga) will lead off this dismal Winter’s account with my totals: 40 SNBU’s, 13 LALO’s, 21 HOLA’s. At this same date last year I was well over 2,000.

From Fergus Nicoll in Stewartville (outside Ottawa):
Not a lot to report here.
I have about doubled my catch to 55. Almost all males, a mix of SY and ASY.
The flock at my main trapping site near Stewartville, ON is down to about 30 birds, so I have all but stopped trapping. My latest report from Karen’s property near Almonte is 15 birds, so I have not even tried trapping there. I haven’t seen a lot of SNBU in the area (and even less HOLA and LALO), but there is now a flock of a couple hundred at a horse farm in the area (Attracted to the hay and digging of the horses). I may approach the owners to see if any of their lands are horse free in the winter and try there next year.
I think the ice layers under the snow here (we had freezing rain several times since Christmas) is making it hard for the birds to find food, and perhaps is why there are not many in this area (And the fact that they are further north of course).

Bruce Murphy with SNBU.

From Bruce Murphy in Timiskaming (the Terra Program is an outdoor education program featuring bird banding that Bruce developed and runs):
HI Rick: we are at 30 snbu and 1 lalo almost all males. I am heading out in the morning with my students so i will have more shots. The picture with the kids are my Terra students . It was -29 with the windchill – we are a hardy bunch. Tommorrow the high is -3; we will be much happier.

Some of Bruce Murphy's "Terra Program" students. - B. Murphy

From Carol Staddon in East Harrow:
Hi Rick. Unfortunately the East Harrow station numbers are very low. Only been able to band 1 day so far, due to lack of birds (and snow).
This season’s total banded to date is:
(0 HOLA)

From Oliver Love and the University of Windsor group:
Don’t worry Caroline! Ours aren’t that much better! We were at a couple of hundred by this time last year.

And from David Lamble in Fergus (David has probably banded more SNBU’s than anyone in the world.)
Hello Rick:
I did 58 Snow Buntings in December and so far in 2012 have done 998 plus one Lapland Longspur. A pretty poor result this year — sorry……………………. David
[I love the apology! And he should apologize – he’s only banded 26 times more than I have this season!]

There has been some discussion on trap design over the past week. Here’s some pictures from David Lamble showing his entrance tunnels:
I have enclosed three pictures of the entrances to the Snow Bunting traps. The welded wire is 1/2 X 1″ — so you can get a reasonable idea of the size. I hope they are helpful. Let me know…………………….. David

1"x1/2" mesh walk-in trap tunnel. - D. Lamble

Another view of the tunnel. - D. Lamble

The "finished" tunnel. - D. Lamble

CSBN Update From New Brunswick:

From Tony and Dorothy Diamond (Note that Tony gets Dorothy to do all the work when the weather is really inclement….):
Dorothy spent the whole morning (4+ hours) trapping today and caught
36 of which 4 were local retraps; all the new birds were males, and
NONE had any sign of foot or tarsus disease. Temperature was -23C with
a wicked wind so strong she could hardly get the truck door closed!
Also caught 1 Lincoln’s Sparrow but had no bands for it.
We had modified one half of the trap on Sunday, moving the tunnels
away from the end and nearer the middle of a wall. I felt that birds
could (and did) escape too easily, just by following a wall around
until it led them outside. We were losing 3-4 birds for each one we
caught. To test this idea we left the other half of the trap
unmodified, so just as in the protocol; sure enough, almost all our
birds are caught in the modified half, those in the other half
escaping before we could reach them. We also plug tunnel entrances
with gloves or bags as soon as we reach the trap, before trying to get
any birds out.


3 thoughts on “February 13th – CSBN Updates & An Interesting Black-capped Chickadee

  1. Thanks so much for doing this Rick I am feeling very supported by the group and it is great to see what others are doing and experiencing. I have noticed that our flock has shrunk from over 200 birds to under 60 I am curious where they might e going but we are hoping to get the chance to band more soon . All the best everyone and keep the trap comments coming very interesting about modifying the funnels it makes sense. It will be interesting what Dave Lamble has to say about that. Keep up the good work and thanks again Rick very connecting us.

  2. Thanks. It’s very interesting for me to see what different people’s experiences are across the country. The lack is snow sure is making a difference – I’d like to know just where the birds are that we would normally be seeing. Yesterday the bright sunshine ate up a lot of the new snow leaving the fields “patchy”. There evidently were only 5 SNBU’s around compared to the 75 the day before. Snow cover certainly does seem to be the common denominator.

  3. Well done everyone! After accepting that this was a bad SNBU banding year, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many birds everyone has managed to band! This may not be a record breaking banding year, but there are still lots of banded birds out there from previous years. So with the number of people keeping an eye out for them this year, you never know what we might find still!

    I love being able to hear from everyone on this blog. Great idea Rick. And it makes a nice break from staring at spreadhseets….

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