May 12th – International Migratory Bird Day

The Dream Team starting out - poised and ready! (Joanne, Peter, Ben and Matt)

The excitement was almost palpable as the Dream Team assembled just before 6:00 and started their pursuit of trying to find 150 species in one day. And today, as would be fitting for International Migratory Bird Day, the birds did not disappoint. The sun had no sooner cleared the horizon than a Common Loon, white belly burnished by the golden light, flew over. An auspicious beginning.

The Team followed the Carolinian, Fox Den, and River Trails and finished their count/census with 72 species!

It was kind of neat to watch them in action. What a mix of ages and experience: Matt, in his mid-20’s with lots of experience lead the way pointing out one here, one there… Peter was not far behind, hindered only by his inability to pick out songs in the higher frequencies (a problem I am beginning to become aware of); Ben, at 12 years old, made up for his lack of experience with quick eyes and joyful enthusiasm; and speaking of enthusiasm…Joanne, almost overcome with awe at the variety she was seeing, provided tons of support (and drove). It was with great regret that I watched them head on out of the parking lot, dragging Marie-Pier with them, to turn up rarities between Ruthven and Long Point. They were certainly on track to easily break 100 species and probably 125 species. I won’t find out their final totals until tomorrow but I’m sure they will be awesome. (And thanks to everyone that sponsored them and, in doing so, supported the banding program at Ruthven!)

Bird of the day - a brilliant ASY male Scarlet Tanager. - R. Beaumont

We mark this special day by holding an “open house” at the banding lab for the general public. This gives anyone that’s interested an opportunity to see what we do and how we do it….and a chance to see some pretty wonderful birds up close. We had over 50 visitors and had 77 birds to put on display – 44 banded and 33 retraps. Perhaps the most exciting bird that we banded was a brilliant ASY male Scarlet Tanager. But besides the birds we caught, we had the most species encountered around the grounds we’ve ever had on one day: 81, including 18 species of warblers (the most notable being: Northern Parula, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, and American Redstart). It was really nice that the birds co-operated! I am expecting this surge of migrants to continue for at least another week – let’s hope the weather takes a turn for the worse and brings them down from the treetops into “net range”.

A search for warblers turned up....phlox and wild geraniums.

Banded 44:
1 Blue Jay
1 House Wren
4 Gray Catbirds
2 Warbling Vireos
1 Red-eyed Vireo (1st of the year)
1 Blue-winged Warbler
2 Tennessee Warblers
1 Nashville Warbler
9 Yellow Warblers
4 Magnolia Warblers
2 Yellow-rumped Warblers
3 Western Palm Warblers
3 Common Yellowthroats
1 Scarlet Tanager
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
3 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 33:
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Eastern Bluebird
5 Gray Catbirds
1 Blue-winged Warbler
4 Yellow Warblers (one was ~6 yrs, 11 months old)
1 Common Yellowthroat
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
2 Chipping Sparrows
6 Song Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
3 Baltimore Orioles
2 American Godlfinches

ET’s: 81 spp.


3 thoughts on “May 12th – International Migratory Bird Day

  1. The team beat us by 3 species! Oh, I didn’t know this until recently, but Rob designated a portion of our sponsorship pledges to Ruthven! 🙂

  2. Oh, I just reread the blog, we finished our day at 69 species, I’m sure they finished well above that! 🙂

  3. Thanks Rob!!! Yes, Angie, they were a little bit above that: they finished the day with (I think) 141 species. They did a marvellous job!!
    But, hey, 69 species is nothing to sneeze at. Good for you!

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