May 11th – Last Chance!

Plumage detail of an older Baltimore Oriole. - H. Scholtens

The Baillie Birdathon is TOMORROW! So if you want to support the Ruthven banding program in a financial way, feel free to sponsor a member of the “Dream Team”. For more information, just read the sidebar on the right of this blog and follow the instructions to donate. Thanks!! Although straight dollar amounts are fine, team members say they prefer $$ per species as it pushes them to beat the bushes for every possible bird they can find. They think (quite realistically) that they will get somewhere between 100 and 130 birds.

Christine's birthday party - she's....well past the quarter century mark. - M-P. Laplante

What a gorgeous day! War, blue cloudless skies, light northerly wind. A good day for just napping on the picnic table bench, completely sated with date squares and muffins. But, alas, there was still a migration going on….evidently. Although it wasn’t all that evident as we had to work hard to band the 31 birds we did. Even though there were 65 species of birds seen during the day, some were present in only small numbers (e.g., only one Blackburnian Warbler). As I’ve said many times before (sort of our mantra) good weather equals lousy banding at Ruthven.

Wing detail of a known older or ASY female Yellow Warbler (banded in 2009)

The relaxed pace gave us a chance to take a good look at some of the birds we were catching. I’m particularrly interested in the variety of plumages that we see in male Indigo Buntings. SY males have a pronounced mix of blue and brown feathers and are pretty easy to age. But then you get males that are brilliant blue throughout and others that are mostly blue but not as brilliant. I’m wondering if the former could be aged as ATY (i.e., After Third Year) and the latter as TY (Third Year). In other words, does it take this species 3+ years to reach full breeding plumage?
Check out these pictures for yourself:

A 'mature' male Indigo Bunting in full-coloured glory. Probably an ATY (After Third Year) male.

Another nicely coloured male...but nearly so bright as the other.

This blog has been running for quite some time now (amazing how time flies!) but a couple of years ago it was greatly enhanced when, Luddite that I am, I figured out how to post pictures as well as text (by this time, Jeff MacLeod, who initiated the blog and still does all the troubleshooting and updating, must have torn out most of his hair…). I try to post pictures from anyone who takes the time to send pictures that relate to our banding program at Ruthven. In the Photo Gallery section below I have included the pictures of 3 new contributors: Fred Smith (President Betsy Smith’s husband) has come upon birds and birding relatively late in life but is quickly becoming an afficianado (as well as a good photographer). AS they live just 2 km downriver he often lets me know about birds arriving or at his feeders (which are just outside his office window). Note in one of his shots, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is sporting a band, most likely applied at Ruthven.
Hannah Scholtens, sister of Caleb, who often has his pictures on the blog, sent me her first offerings and is showing great promise.
Mackenzie Degelder is one of our co-op students from Cayuga SS. Mack is becoming a very interested birder and quite competent in aspects of banding. I hope you like their shots.

Today's catch: American Goldfinch, Indigo Bunting, Common Yellowthroat. - M. DeGelder

Banded 31:
2 Least Flycatchers
3 Gray Catbirds
2 Blue-winged Warblers
2 Nashville Warblers
4 Yellow Warblers
2 Yellow-rumped Warblers
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Song Sparrow
3 Lincoln’s Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
7 American Goldfinches

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Retrapped 28:
2 Tree Swallows
1 House Wren
4 Gray Catbirds
1 Blue-winged Warbler
6 Yellow Warblers
1 Western Palm Warbler
4 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Indigo Bunting
2 Song Sparrows
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
2 Baltimore Orioles
3 American Godlfinches

ET’s: 65 spp.

Photo Gallery:

Black-throated Green Warbler. - M. DeGelder

Chestnut-sided Warbler. - M. Degelder

Magnoliz Warbler. - M. DeGelder

Western Palm Warbler. - M. DeGelder

Baltimore Oriole after the orange slices - a great way to attract them. - F. Smith

Banded male Rose-breasted Grosbeak on the feeder - probably banded at Ruthven. - F. Smith

Northern Cardinal - cousin of the grosbeak and just as hard a biter. - F. Smith

Red-bellied Woodpecker taking off. - F. Smith

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak at sunflower feeder - a food for which they have a great appetite. - F. Smith

Joanne focused on a Yellow Warbler. - H. Scholtens

Female Northern Flicker. - H. Scholtens

Marie-Pier extracting a Baltimore Oriole. - H. Scholtens

Blue-winged Warbler - now a common breeder at Ruthven. - H. Scholtens

Female Black and White Warbler. - H. Scholtens


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