March 12th – A Balmy March Break

March Break…and that means March Break Day Camp at Ruthven. And with camp comes Natalie’s plaintiff pleadings to please, please, please, try to catch some birds for the children’s entertainment and enlightenment. As if I needed any incentive…..

It was 3 degrees when I arrived at 8:30 to start the day off with a census and 14 degrees when I started to close up at 11:30. In those 3 hours I saw 32 species including 3 new ones for the year: 4 Wood Ducks, 2 Sandhill Cranes, and 1 (at least) Rusty Blackbird. I also banded 8 birds and retrapped 16 others. So it was a good morning all round – for everyone.

Chris and Christine dropped in to process a couple of birds and say good-bye. They were returning to the University of Windsor after spending Saturday and Sunday nights trying to catch Northern Saw-Whet Owls. On Saturday night they had a Saw-whet respond to the lure tape but not find its way into the net – probably a bird that spent the Winter in the area. [Given that Nancy found a Saw-whet killed by a car just down from the entrance to Ruthven, it looks like these birds may spend the Wnter in the area.] Very little is known about the return Spring migration of this bird and we’re hoping to throw some light on it. I think it’s still too early though. My hunch is that their migration corresponds to White-throated Sparrow migration (and other sparrow species) – a plentiful food source in most years. We will continue to try to catch Saw-whets at least through April and early May whenever we get a chance (and aren’t too tired from our “day job”).

Banded 8:
Black-capped Chickadee 1
American Tree Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 2
American Goldfinch 4

Retrapped 16:
Downy Woodpecker 1
Eastern Tufted Titmouse 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
American Tree Sparrow 9 (it will be interesting to see when these birds leave for the north)
American Goldfinch 3

ET’s: 32 spp.


2 thoughts on “March 12th – A Balmy March Break

  1. Feels more like late spring here than late winter. No SNBU now for at least a week. Simon and Gay never made it, so we’ll have to wait for next year to band in Barnston-Ouest. Plenty of Red-winged blackbirds and grackles around now. Bluebird and Kestrel boxes cleaned and ready for action!

  2. Yes, we’re getting the same sort of weather here; 16 degrees today!
    A couple of days ago I was up in Grey County and saw about 75 SNBU’s foraging in a barnyard. There was still some scattered belts of snow in the surrounding fields – enough to hold them I guess. But as you say, banding will have to wait until next year.

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