January 1st – Kicking Off the New Year in Style

Anne Klaus had the distinction of banding the first bird of the 2013 Season – a Common Redpoll.

What a beautiful day! Clear blue skies, cold but with no wind, and 8 inches of snow blanketing the ground. Nancy Furber and I have been trying to find and then entice Snow Buntings to baited areas in some promising fields but we’re not successful yet. I’ve had a group of from 8-31 visiting a site haphazardly for the past coule of days. But we may be close. Nancy reported today coming across a flock of up to 700 birds close to the area we were so successful in two years ago. She baited the area so we’ll just have to wait and see (with fingers crossed….). Unfortunately, she came upon a young male bunting along the road that likely had been it by a car. It died shortly after she found it.

Nancy Furber with an injured Snow Bunting that she found.

Wing detail of a young (HY) male Snow Bunting – note the black tips of the primary coverts.

For the past few days I have been seeing Common Redpolls at Ruthven when I’ve gone to refill the feeders (which the birds are emptying at an amazing rate). Despite the moniker “Common”, these birds are anuthing but at Ruthven. In fact, over our 16-year history we have banded only 6 of these birds. So, I decided that I would take advantage of this lovely weather and try to add to our total. I opened the nets at the feeders for 2 hours and ended up catching 39 birds – 10 of which were Common Redpolls.

Brilliant male Common Redpoll.

Female Common Redpoll.

Volunteer Anne Klaus, who maintains the Fox Den Trail, showed up at just the right moment and had the distinction of banding the first bird of the 2013 season….a Common Redpoll.

Banded 25:
1 Mourning Dove
4 American Tree Sparrows
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
10 Common Redpolls
6 American Goldfinches

Red-bellied Woodpecker giving my hand a going over. -A. Klaus.

Retrapped 14:
5 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
4 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Dark-eyed Junco (originally banded in the Fall of 2010)

Pictures taken by Anne Klaus:

Late afternoon sun on Anne’s Fox Den Trail. -A. Klaus

Fox Den Trail. -A. Klaus

Rick’s Rill with a skim of ice. -A. Klaus

The still unfrozen Grand River, looking downstream. -A. Klaus

Looking upstream on the Grand River. -A. Klaus

The Thompson Cemetery. -A. Klaus

The late sun setting off the Coach House. -A. Klaus

PS: The never-ending struggle for human rights and dignity:

CAO Marilynn Havelka trying to stop free speech…..

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