January 10th – Getting Underway

Carol and Nancy - getting the year off to a good start.

Carol demonstrating the correct way to use white-out. "It's all in the wrist", she claims.

Carol Jones arrived at Ruthven, ostensibly to “walk the trails”, but was quickly seconded by Nancy to try out the new white-out cartridge that Marilynn had picked up for us. Now, as anyone who has scribed at the lab knows, white-out was specially made with a banding program in mind. It is easy to make mistakes when the pace picks up and this magical substance makes them right again. Carol is a bit of an expert in its use – not that she makes a lot of mistakes….heavens no!…..she is simply a ‘natural’ in its use. Sort of the Wayne Gretzky of white-out. So we asked her to demonstrate how to handle it – it’s amazing how many people can’t figure it out – note the low angle of attack maintained with a stiff wrist action and firm grip.

Wing feather details of an ASY male White-breasted Nuthatch.

Nancy and I were meeting to sort out what new equipment we would need to get and decided to open the nets for a couple of hours while doing so. We ended up banding 12 and retrapping 17 previously-banded birds including a White-breasted Nuthatch that we’d first seen in 2009. Catching ‘known’ older birds gives us a good opportunity to examine its plumage and contrast it with that of younger birds. In this bird (a male), note the very dark secondary covert feathers and alula as well as the marked blue/gray edging to the flight feathers.

Tail feather details on the ASY male nuthatch.

Banded 12:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Dark-eyed Junco
10 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 17:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 American Tree Sparrows
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
10 American Goldfinches


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