May 21st & 22nd – Catching Up As We Wind Down

Madison was all smiles as she got to process this retrap
hummingbird. -MAS

Ruthven Park:
May 21st:
The temperatures were cool at opening so the warmth of the early morning sunrise felt good. A total of 65 birds were handled today with a nice mix of species! The highlight was catching a Ruby-throated Hummingbird retrap that was originally banded on June 30, 2018. Madison did a great job processing her first hummingbird. Madison and Jason have been a great addition to our banding program this season. They’ve absorbed every opportunity to learn and I’ve enjoyed their enthusiasm! Thanks for all of your help and staying longer today.
Banded 41:
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1 Blue Jay
1 House Wren
8 Gray Catbird

Philadelphia Vireo. -MAS

1 Philadelphia Vireo
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Blue-winged Warbler
2 Tennessee Warbler
5 Yellow Warbler

Blackburnian Warblers: female (left), male (right). -MAS

2 Blackburnian Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Young male Indigo Bunting (notice all the brown blotching). -MAS

1 Indigo Bunting
1 Song Sparrow
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
3 Baltimore Oriole
3 Orchard Oriole
3 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 48 species

Michael, new education co-ordinator, with his first banded bird. -NRF

May 22nd:
Priceless. Throughout the month, we’ve watched our Purple Martin colony grow and now, there’s 24 adults! On site, there’s an 18 gourd structure and two 24-unit apartments. There’s been a preference to the gourds and if you visit the park, you’ll see a number of them perched on the gourd racks that are positioned above the gourds. Today, I observed the adults flying south to the back fields gathering nesting material. It was a steady movement watching them fly back and fourth with grassy material in their beaks. Nest building also includes the use of mud to build a slight wall immediately inside the hole that gradually slopes back toward the rear of the compartment. Towards the completion of the nest and continuing until the eggs hatch, they’ll fly to the willow tree next to the lab to gather green leaves to line the cup of the nest.

Gorgeous male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. -JWC

A fun time in the banding lab today. I set the Hall Trap up for humming birds and Madison was successful in catching two birds. Her first attempt at catching a hummingbird failed but she did catch her first Baltimore Oriole in the trap. Patiently she waited, and then from within the banding lab I heard her yell my name when she caught her first Ruby-throated Hummingbird. It was a male retrap, originally banded at Ruthven on May 12, 2018!

Running the Hall trap:

Hall trap with the mesh sides raised and the trigger line going back to a “poised” Madison. -MAS

Madison on the alert for a bird to enter the Hall trap. When it does she will release the string, dropping the mesh sides around the bird. -MAS

Madison…..obviously enjoying herself. -MAS

First bird caught in the Hall trap was……NOT a hummingbird but this female oriole. -MAS

Hummingbird in the Hall trap. -MAS

A successful capture. -MAS

We handled 73 birds today and we had a number of visitors who enjoyed seeing the variety of warblers.
Banded 44:
2 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 Least Flycatcher

Female Tree Swallow. -JWC

1 Tree Swallow
1 American Robin
3 Gray Catbird
1 Philadelphia Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo. -MAS

1 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warbler
5 Tennessee Warbler
2 Orange-crowned Warbler
5 Yellow Warbler

Male Chestnut-sided Warbler -JWC

4 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler

Male Blackburnian. -NRF

2 Blackburnian Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat

Male Wilson’s Warbler. -MAS

1 Wilson’s Warbler
1 Song Sparrow
4 Baltimore Oriole
2 Orchard Oriole
4 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 67 species

Fern Hill School – Oakville Campus:

Katherine with itinerant teacher Holly Brose with Holly’s first banded bird: American Goldfinch. -JJC

On both days birds continued to filter through the area. Some were unobtrusive while others, like Blue Jays, were quite obvious. I would love to know where these jays are going. We see them each Spring heading over the school in a ENE direction and all I can see lying ahead of them is the skyline of Mississauga, just on the other side of Hwy 403, about 400 meters from the school. In the Fall we will watch them coming back – from Mississauga, heading WSW. Would be a great species to radio track…..

May 21st; Banded 23:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Least Flycatcher
2 Black-capped Chickadees (bringing our Spring total to >90!)
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 House Wren
1 Swainson’s Thrush
2 Gray Catbirds
2 Warbling Vireos
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
2 Common Grackles
3 Baltimore Orioles
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 43 spp.

This Killdeer has established a nest just outside the JK play area and under a spruce tree! -KAP

May 22nd; Banded 18:
1 Downy Woodpecker
5 Blue Jays
1 Red-eyed Vireo

Rasha releasing a Common Yellowthroat. -KAP

2 Common Yellowthroats
1 Canada Warbler
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
2 Common Grackles
1 House Finch
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 43 spp.

Suez Site – May 22nd:

A clutch of Tree Swallow eggs at one of the Suez boxes. -RW

A quick update on how things are going – we’re still finding some dead
tree swallows in our nest boxes – we had one more today. I was a bit
surprised since the weather was so good over the weekend. On the bright
side we have our first batch of eggs! So far we have 3 nests, with 2
still being built and this one with eggs in it. No sign of anything but
tree swallows in the nest boxes, but a small group of us have been out
at least once a week making entries in ebird. Now that I’m really
paying attention (and have a few extra eyes, and binoculars, and we’re
venturing a bit off the normal trails) I’m starting to see some species
I’ve never seen before. Last week was particularly good, we saw:
1 turkey vulture
2 red tailed hawks
1 red-bellied woodpecker
1 downy woodpecker
1 northern flicker
1 hairy woodpecker
1 great crested flycatcher
3 blue jays
8 tree swallows (the usual crew hanging out around the nest boxes)
3 gold finches
4 red winged black birds

Ruthven isn’t the only place with Baltimore Orioles. This one was “captured” in the woods at the Suez site. -RW

Not too bad for a quick walk! In the prior week we also saw a male and
female baltimore oriole hanging around.

We’ll keep close tabs on the nests and let you know what happens from here.

Rick Walpole

Leave a Reply