January 5th – A Flurry (….of Bird Activity)

Common Redpolls continue to flock to our feeders. -C. Scholtens

Although the conditions were good for Snow Buntings, we had agreed to “host” the Hamilton Naturalists CBC for Kids at the banding station at Ruthven. So at 8:30 I had the nets around the two sets of feeders open and some ground traps out. Now, I was expecting a day much like the 1st of January when we caught just under 40 birds. That was a nice easy pace (and certainly would have kept a group of kids happy). But we were inundated! From the time I opened the nets until I closed them 5 hours later, Nancy Furber and I were on the go. And when the snow settled, we had banded 98 and retrapped 49! I think the birds are somehow aware that bad weather is coming and are “bulking up” in preparation for it.

Male Common Redpoll at the niger feeder. -C. Scholtens

We banded equal numbers of Common Redpolls and American Goldfinches (29 of each) but the timing was interesting: we caught most of the redpolls early and most of the goldfinches late. Both were going after the niger seed. We also got a large number of American Tree Sparrows – we banded 16 and retrapped 8. One of the retraps had originally been banded in 2008 as an AHY bird making it at least 5 years old. Interestingly we had not reacaught it since its original banding. Where had it been in 2009, ’10, ’11, and ’12?

American Goldfinch -C. Scholtens

Perhaps the most exciting bird of the day was a sighting of a Common Raven flying by to the south of us.

Furtive Downy Woodpecker. -C. Scholtens

Banded 98:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Northern Cardinals
16 American Tree Sparrows
8 Dark-eyed Juncos
7 House Finches
3 Pine Siskins
29 Common Redpolls
29 American Goldfinches

Common Mergansers winging their way downriver. -C. Scholtens

Retrapped 49:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
5 Downy Woodpeckers
3 Eastern Tufted Titmice
4 Black-capped Chickadees
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
8 American Tree Sparrows
9 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Pine Siskin
2 Common Redpolls
16 American Goldfinches

Two redpolls talking it over: “Hey Buddy, too bad about your luck…” -C. Scholtens


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