January 7th – Getting Started

At the end of a banding season (for us, the Fall migration monitoring period lasted for 68 days: September 1st to November7th), you breathe a big sigh of relief and look forward to mornings of sleeping in and days of summarizing data and…..days not devoted to birds at all.

But…..2019 has rolled around, a new year….a new banding challenge. We like to start off the year with a plethora of Snow Buntings (with a few Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks thrown in) to fill the time until the Spring season starts on April 1st. But so far it hasn’t been “that kind of a Winter” meaning that it’s been mild and almost snowless – the two things that Snow Buntings need before they’ll move into our area.

So we’ve had to make due with cleaning the banding lab and filling the feeder arrays and, oh yes, doing a little banding. On the 5th Peter and Caleb Scholtens organized a CBC 4 Kids for the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club. There wasn’t an overwhelming turnout but there was a very enthusiastic turnout – and it looks like we will have 3 new young banders-to-be starting in the Spring. Give me quality over quantity anytime!

In terms of bird numbers we had a very good day: handling 66 birds 41 of them new with 25 retraps. And on the Christmas Bird Count hike the team picked up 17 species, the most interesting being an American Robin (maybe as confused as I have been over this mild weather.

We banded 41 birds:

1 White-breasted Nuthatch

5 Dark-eyed Juncos

3 House Finches

31 American Goldfinches (and we got another 10 today in less than hour simply by closing the doors on the hanging trap.)


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