February 4th – The Writing Is On The Wall

When we first started this season’s Bunting Project, I could leave the house at 8:00 AM and get to the trapping site 15 minutes away in relative darkness. Now the birds are at the site, waiting for breakfast, by 7:15 (and even maybe earlier – I’ve been too slothful to find out). And so it starts: the necessity of getting up earlier and earlier in order to catch birds. Before you know it, the migration monitoring season will be starting at Ruthven Park (April 1st) and my alarm will be set for 4:00. My Grandmother had a saying for this: “Early to bed, early to rise…..your girl goes out with other guys”. [My Grandmother was a fine, fine woman but pretty straight-laced and I remember that this blew me out of the water when she said it.]

Getting an early start today really paid off as there were at least 250 birds present when I arrived and we had our first catch and were banding by 7:45. It had to be a short day for pressing “other life” reasons but by the time we finished and drove off at 11:00 we had banded: 110 Snow Buntings & 2 Horned Larks.

Interestingly, we had only 2 retrapped Snow Buntings. It appears that we got a whole new batch in. Where are they all coming from? And how do they find this spot in such big numbers? (And where have the banded ones gone?)


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