March 27th – Getting Ready

Mackenzie and Addison - our co-op students...and future field biologists.

April 1st is nearly upon us and that means the beginning of our 17th Spring migration monitoring season. (Where have the years gone!?) Usually at this time the ice isn’t long off the river, there’s remnant patches of snow, and it’s cold. But this year there hasn’t been any ice on the river, what little snow we had is long gone, and we’ve had record hot spells throughout the month. Time to get ready!!

Our co-op students hard at work.

Over the past two weeks we’ve put up almost all of the nets, leaving the last one, #7, to the end so that the lane will dry up (it’s usually a bog at this time of year). This year we have two very energetic co-op students, Mackenzie and Addison, from Cayuga Secondary School. We’ve been able to put them to work getting things ready. I was once told this piece of “wisdom” by a cynical aging fellow: “when it comes to work, if you’ve got one boy you’ve got half a man; if you’ve got two boys you’ve got nothin'”. Now, many times I’ve found this to be true but not with these young fellows – they work hard together and are keen to learn, having aspirations of doing field work in the future.

Budding field workers: Mackenzie (l.) and Addison (r.)

To keep things entertaining for them, we set out an array of ground traps and they checked them every third wheelbarrow load full. It appears that Dark-eyed Juncos are on the move. We tapped into 6 of them but would have had quite a few more if we had opened nets (we keep them closed in cold conditions and it was -6 for much of the morning).

The newly refurbished Net Lane 7 - all it needs is a net.

New sightings for the year included Green-winged Teal and field Sparrow. And we had a very interesting retrap: a female American Goldfinch which was originally banded as a SY-F on April 24th, 2007 making it just under 6 years old.

Banded 10:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Song Sparrow
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 8:
1 American Tree Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 American Godlfinch

ET’s: 32 spp.

2 thoughts on “March 27th – Getting Ready

  1. I love hearing about the retraps from years ago! 🙂
    Rob and I have April 13th off and are thinking a trip to Ruthven is in order.

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