January 8th – And So It Begins….All Over Again

Bird #1 - an American Tree Sparrow was the first bird banded in 2012.

A beautiful day – felt like early March; light westerly wind and mostly sunny. I decided to go out and sample the winter residents that are hanging around the feeders at Ruthven. The feeders, despite all the warm weather, have been seeing a lot of action, to the point that the sunflower feeders need to be filled almost every day.

An unbanded Downy Woodpecker - a rarity for us at this time of year.

One-legged "Stumpy" continues to thrive.

I fully expected that the first bird to be banded in the new 2012 year would be an American Goldfinch but…I was wrong. That honour went to an American Tree Sparrow. I had the nets (and 2 Potter traps) open for just over 3 hours and in that time handled 39 birds – an almost equal mix of ‘new’ ones and retraps. One of the retraps was “Stumpy”, a Black-capped Chickadee that was missing the lower part of its right leg and right foot when we first caught it in the Fall. I’m pleased to report that the Stumpster is not only alive but doing well – carried a good fat load and weighed almost 12 grams.

For contrast - a big flock of Snow Buntings about 30 km east of Ottawa. - Line Perras

Although the warm temperatures have resulted in no snow cover and consequently no Snow Buntings, that’s not the case in other parts of the province. Line Perras, who lives to the east of Ottawa and whom I visited last Winter to band some of the large numbers of Snow Buntings at her farm, sent me a picture of her snow-covered fields, replete with a large flock of buntings.

Banded 18:
1 Downy Woodpecker
4 American Tree Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Finch
10 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 21:
1 Mourning Dove
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
3 Black-capped Chickadees
2 American Tree Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
3 House Finches
8 American Goldfinches


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