May 16th – We’re In The Thick Of It!

The Ruthven Ringers Birdathon Team stopped at Ruthven to pick up a couple of species for the birdathon. They got them….and when they left were up to 148!! From left: Ethan Gosnell, Ezra Campanelli, Alessandra Wilcox, Ben Oldfield. Best birds to that point: Red-necked Phalarope. Wow! -DOL

The migration of long-distance migrants is in full swing. Tremendous variety around today. Check out these numbers: the Ruthven Ringers were up to 148 species for their 24-hour birdathon effort and still had lots of time to go; Nancy upped the bar for the census by recording 62 species; for the day, we recorded 82 species at Ruthven, including 21 different warblers. What a great day to be a birder!!

Our Baltimore Oriole numbers raise some interesting questions. We have banded 80 which, as mentioned, is much higher than the previous high of 51 and much much higher than the average going back to 1999 of just 32. And we’re not the only ones reporting high Oriole numbers. I have seen many comments on social media from many areas of eastern North America noting an apparent increase. What’s going on? Greater nesting success? Better wintering conditions? This is something that would be worth researching.

Caelyn releasing a blue-winged Warbler. There is a large breeding population at Ruthven. -AML

Good picture of Jeff MacLeod (blogmeister)……not so good of the Tennessee Warbler. -JML

Banded 78:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Tree Swallow
2 Red-breasted Nuthatches
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Carolina Wren
3 Veerys (Veeries?)
7 Gray Catbirds
2 Red-eyed Vireos
3 Blue-winged Warblers
3 Tennessee Warblers
1 Nashville Warbler
10 Yellow Warblers
3 Chestnut-sided Warblers
6 Magnolia Warblers
2 Bay-breasted Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
3 American Redstarts
3 Northern Waterthrushes
5 Common Yellowthroats
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow

Baltimore Oriole #80! The old Spring record was 51. -AML

6 Baltimore Orioles (bringing our total to 80!)
3 Orchard Orioles
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 82 spp.

Fern Hill Burlington:

Here’s a banding surprise for the Burlington folks: a Spotted Sandpiper. -KAP

Today was a very special day at our school. It is a day where the students invite their Grandparents, or Special Friends, to the school as VIPs who get to experience life as a students at Fern Hill. I just think it is so special for them to see their little ones in a new light and in their roles as students and bright young learners. It is always a joy to show the Grandparents the beautiful birds migrating through (so many of them are birders and bird lovers themselves), and to watch as the Grandparents see their little ones demonstrating their bird handling and ID skills. Such a treat.

The day started off at 7:30AM as we kicked off the morning watching Baltimore and Orchard Orioles bombing the feeders and fruit set up along the net lanes. We even had hummingbirds zipping about charming the Grannies and Grampies! We also spotted our first ever RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at our school, peeking down from the tree tops at the feeder action. So exciting! Throughout the day we caught a nice variety of birds and it was a great success. One Grandmother, a self described bird lover, confessed during the banding that she had never seen an Eastern Bluebird. Wouldn’t you know it, a beautiful male showed up within minutes at a nest box so close that she didn’t even need binoculars to see it. I was so, so happy to see her joy, and definitely understand that “bluebird feeling”.

If that wasn’t good enough, we caught our first ever SPOTTED SANDPIPER! A complete surprise although we do hear them in the muddy flats near the net lanes from time to time. Janice and I were high five-ing each other all day!

Banded 21:
Spotted Sandpiper – 1
Downy Woodpecker – 1
Least Flycatcher – 1
Gray Catbird – 2
European Starling – 1
Yellow Warbler – 2
White-crowned Sparrow – 4
Red-winged Blackbird – 2
Baltimore Oriole – 3
American Goldfinch – 4


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