May 19th – Musings on a Birthday

Virginia Bluebells - E.C.

I hadn’t seen the Campanelli boys in quite a while so I was a little surprised not only to see them this morning but also at how tall they were getting. As it turns out, it was Ezra’s 12th birthday and the destination of choice was Ruthven to do some birding. Good choice! For a number of reasons: there were some good birds around; they could bask in the charming company of the banding crew; Joanne Fleet had brought lunch for all the banding crew – enough (more than enough) to share with the Campanellis. Now, how can you beat that?

The whole birthday thing got me to thinking about “when I was your age” sorts of stuff. On the day, we saw and/or banded 14 species of warblers. That’s not bad for an inland site these days. There were small “pockets” of warblers around the grounds and in the forest throughout the morning. But then I got to thinking……when I was Ezra’s age I remember coming home from school (I grew up in the east end of Hamilton) and finding 13 species of warblers in the same tree in my backyard at the same time. With that thought in the back of my mind, I was struck, when I was doing the census, by how “empty” the forest seemed – so much habitat not being used. Where were all the warblers of my youth? Of course you then start to ponder the notion that everything seemed more abundant when you were a kid but….I don’t think so. We’re at the height of the migration period and there don’t seem to be that many birds around. The general decline in Neotropical migrants is becoming quite noticeable.

First Wilson's Warbler of the year.

Still, it was great to see the ones we did. We banded 56 birds altogether and over half (30) were warblers. At times like this, each net round is exciting because you just don’t know what you’re going to find. I was hoping for a Kirtland’s Warbler but, alas, all the conjuring in the world couldn’t produce one.

Joanne with a gustatory surprise.

For some strange reason, Joanne Fleet has decided that I need to put on weight….To this end she brought a wonderful spread (crockpot full of stew, french bread, cheese) for all the banders to enjoy. And we did. Thanks Joanne!!

Lunch is served....and appreciated!!

Banded 56:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
1 Eastern Kingbird
2 Veeries
1 American Robin
4 Gray Catbirds
2 Warbling Vireos
1 Red-eyed Vireo
5 Tennessee Warblers
2 Nashville Warblers
8 Yellow Warblers
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
3 Magnolia Warblers
3 Myrtle Warblers
1 Northern Waterthrush
5 Common Yellowthroats
2 Wilson’s Warblers
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Song Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
4 Baltimore Orioles
2 American Godlfinches

Retrapped 25:
1 Mourning Dove
2 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Eastern Kingbird
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Canada Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
5 Baltimore Orioles
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 68 spp.

Today’s Photo Gallery (thanks to Ezra Campanelli….mostly):

A pair of Eastern Kingbirds - a rare treat for us to catch.

Brood patch on a Downy Woodpecker - J. Fleet

Purple Martin at nesting gourd.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit - E.C.

Warbling Vireo - E.C.

Tick from a Common Yellowthroat. - E.C.

Ruthven Busker Festival.

Tennessee Warblers - E.C.


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