May 10th – A Banding First!

Clay-coloured Sparrow - a banding first for me and for Ruthven!!

Some “new” birds moved in last night. Probably moving in the company of the Chipping Sparrows we banded today was a banding first for me and the Ruthven Banding Station: a Clay-coloured Sparrow. Although I’d heard one on the grounds last Fall, I never saw it. So catching this one was a real treat. It was netted in #7.

We had good variety but, again, some species were represented by only one or two individuals. On the other hand, there was a real influx of American Goldfinches – we banded 27 of them (a large proportion of them males).

House Wren with a bill deformity ("overbite") - a sign of avian keratin disorder?

We had a few more ‘interesting’ captures: a House Wren with an “overbite” – the upper mandible extended ~2mm beyond the lower one. Is this a sign of avian keratin disorder? There is concern that this is an emerging disease in North American birds (see 2010 edition of The Auk, 4th volume).

ASY male Orchard Oriole

ASY male Orchard Oriole - but note contrast between primary and secondary coverts.

We caught a male Orchard Oriole with a beautiful bronze plumage suggesting that it was an ASY (After Second Year) or ‘older’ bird. However, the contrast in black vs brown wing plumage was more suggestive of a SY (Second Year) or young bird.

A male Brewster's Warbler - now a common breeder at Ruthven.

We caught and banded another Brewster’s Warbler. This bird is fast becoming a regular breeder at Ruthven. We almost never see Golden-winged Warblers anymore (which the Blue-winged Warbler breeds with to produce this hybrid). Twenty-five years ago Blue-winged Warblers were a rarity and you regularly caught Golden-winged Warblers, which bred in the area.

Dorothy and daughter Joanne, both keen birders, making the Spring Pilgrimage to Ruthven.

Banded 63:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Tree Swallow
1 Blue Jay
1 House Wren
1 Wood Thrush
1 American Robin
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 Brewster’s Warbler
2 Yellow Warblers
2 Magnolia Warblers
1 Black & White Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
4 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Clay-coloured Sparrow
4 Chipping Sparrows
2 Field Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
2 Baltimore Orioles
1 Orchard Oriole
27 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 43:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 House Wren
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
2 Yellow Warblers (one banded as a juvenile in 2006)
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
3 American Tree Sparrows
14 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
7 Brown-headed Cowbirds
1 Baltimore Oriole
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 65 spp.

Photo Gallery:

Another look at the Clay-coloured Sparrow - caught in Net 7.

Male Magnolia Warbler

SY male Rose-breasted Grosbeak - note contrast between new (black) wing feathers and old (brown) feathers.


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