May 12th – Our Biggest Day….EVER!

Instilling a sense of wonder - more important than numbers.... -Photo J. Fleet

I knew it was going to be a good day when I arrived to find that Nancy had beaten me to it and had opened most of the nets. We had had good conditions through the night for a ‘big’ day: light cloud and light NE headwinds, so my expectations, already high, continued to build. But I didn’t expect what we got. To put it in some context, it is unusual for us to band 100 birds in a day in the Spring (no problem in the Fall). Our “biggest day” of banding had been 112 birds in 2004. But today we blew that record out of the water! We banded 144 birds (and handled 56 retraps for a total of 200 birds)! Not only that but we banded 31 different species and for the day we banded or saw 82 species (I can’t remember a species total this high before).

Orange-crowned Warbler - an uncommon sighting in the Spring at Ruthven

This large influx of migrants included 8 new arrivals for the year: Traill’s Flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler (we’ve banded only 7 of these in the previous 15 Springs), Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Canada Warbler.

While neotropical migrants were the order of the day, we still had some boreal birds/Winter residents that should have been long gone hanging around: American Tree Sparrows and a Pine Siskin. It was a great mix.

Joanne, seeing clearly that I was wasting away to nothing, brought me lunch(!)

But just as important, we had a wonderful mix of people helping out, resulting in a lot of fun in the banding lab and along the net lanes and a sense of camaraderie. Also, we had some great food!! I must admit that I’m starting to feel a little like the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins… know, you have first breakfast, then second breakfast, then “elevenses”, and then lunch. It’s tough maintaining a youthful figure with help like this. Thanks everyone!!!

Rehabilitating the Butterfly Meadow - Giuliana and Joanne with their kids with Sandy - SAR Co-ordinator

Banded 144:
3 Mourning Doves
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 Least Flycatcher
2 Northern Rough-winged Swallows
1 Veery
1 Wood Thrush
10 Gray Catbirds
3 Blue-winged Warblers
1 Orange-crowned Warbler
2 Nashville Warblers
7 Yellow Warblers
1 Chestnut-sided Warblers
5 Magnolia Warblers
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 Myrtle Warbler
5 Ovenbirds
4 Northern Waterthrushes
6 Common Yellowthroats
4 Canada Warblers
8 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (there was an influx of females)
3 Indigo Buntings
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 Lincoln’w Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
9 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Common Grackle
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
6 Baltimore Orioles
1 Pine Siskin
45(!) American Goldfinches

Retrapped 56:
1 Re-d-bellied Woodpecker
3 Blue Jays
1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
1 Gray Catbird
2 Blue-winged Warblers
5 Yellow Warblers (2 of them were 6 years old and 1 of them was 5 years old)
4 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
3 American Tree Sparrows
11 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
4 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird
7 Brown-headed Cowbirds
3 Baltimore Orioles
7 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 82 spp.

Today’s Photo Gallery (Thanks to Bronwen Tregunno):

Northern Rough-winged Swallow - a banding rarity at Ruthven (or anywhere).

Solitary Sandpiper still hanging around. - Peter Thoem

Least Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Eastern White-crowned Sparrow - on its way to Labrador?

Christie Macdonald - her blush is almost as red as the woodpecker's.

Note difference in the red patch - older (ASY) bird on left; younger (SY) bird on right.


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