May 20th & 21st – Feels Like Summer

Female Yellow Warbler busily gathering nesting material. -G. MacLellan

These past two days have been hot! Sunny, clear, very little wind, and hot! Feels like Summer. There are still birds moving through in small numbers: Black-throated Blue Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Magnolia Warbler. But you get the distinct feeling that the breeding birds that are going to nest at Ruthven have either done so or are in the midst of doing so. Bluebirds, Song Sparrows, and Killdeer have aready fledged young and several other species aren’t far behind. The long-distance migrants are busily building nests. It’s interesting how the birds that were so noticeable a week ago with their singing and territorial defense are now hardly discernible – they’re quiet and tending to nesting rather than proclaiming they’re ready to do so.

On the other hand, we were witness to a proclamation that “we’ve finished the first one and are ready to go again”. For the better part of the morning we could hear and see two male Eastern Bluebirds chattering at each other and, on occasion, coming to blows. I’m thinking that these are males that are trying to entice a female for a second round of breeding. At the same time they were fighting, one of the males would have to take time out to tend to a youngster that was begging for food nearby. It won’t be long before the young are cut loose and the second breeding attempt begins…but with which male?

We saw several sizeable flock of Canada Geese going over, signalling that they’ve finished breeding and will soon be on their way – a “moult migration” – to the Hudson’s Bay Lowlands to go through a complete feather moult, during which time they are flightless.

So, essentially, we have 3 stages of birds, if you will: those that have bred and may be getting ready to go for a second brood; those that are just building nests and getting ready to breed; and those that have kilometers to go and will nest when they reach their breeding ground futher north. And you just don’t know which stage you’ll catch.

Cedar Waxwing -A. Ward

Cedar Waxwing -A. Ward

May 20th; Banded 28:
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 American Robin
2 Gray Catbirds
6 Cedar Waxwings
5 Yellow Warblers
5 Magnolia Warblers
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 American Redstart
1 Mourning Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 55 spp.

Photo Gallery (thanks to Art Ward):

The bird of the day: a male Mourning Warbler -A. Ward

Male Magnolia Warbler -A. Ward

Young (SY) Indigo Bunting -A. Ward

Male Common Yellowthroat. -A. Ward

Note the red "sealing wax" tips on the flight feathers of this Cedar Waxwing. - A. Ward

Blue-winged Warbler -A. Ward

May 21st; Banded 16:
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
1 Eastern Bluebird (one of the fighting males)
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
1 Nashville Warbler
2 Yellow Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Wilson’s Warbler
2 Indigo Buntings
1 Chipping Sparrows
2 American Godlfinches

ET’s: 66 spp.

Photo Gallery (thanks to Gail MacLellan):

Female 'hummer' at the banding lab feeder. -G. MacLellan

This shot of a "hummer" took a lot of patience. -G. MacLellan

Foraging male Eastern Bluebird -G. MacLellan

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak -G. MacLellan

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher -G. MacLellan

Red Admiral -G. MacLellan

Bumblebee hard at work. -G. MacLellan

Eastern Wood Pewee - a bird of the understory. - G. MacLellan

The Killdeer pair still have 4 young - keep your fingers crossed. -G. MacLellan

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