May 23rd – The Weekend’s Over – Time For A Rest

Lexie Dolbear celebrating her 12th birthday.

I must say that I gave a deep sigh of relief when the last net was closed and the last car left the parking lot. It’s been busy – not so much with migrating birds but with bird-precocious kids. When I was growing up I had a great interest in birds but… were afraid to let anyone know because you would immediately be pegged as a nerd (or worse). Although things have changed a little for the better, it still hasn’t changed that much. So, for the kids that were here on Sunday and today – keen birders all – it was sort of a throwing off of the social reins and letting it all go. If you could take the Campanelli boys, the Husak boys, the Scholtens kids, Ben Oldfield and Lexie Dolbear and train them for a while, you would have the most dynamite birding/banding team you could imagine! It was great to see them all just having fun, birding together.

The thing, though, is that to nurture their enthusiasm (and energy) you have to meet it with enthusiasm (and energy). And two days of it were just about enough for this old guy……but fun.

Lexie’s attendance today was kind of interesting. It was her 12th birthday so, as part of a tradition, her grandfather Ken brings her to Ruthven because she’s a keen birder. (Interesting, eh, that some people have this tradition: Irene Schmidt just celebrated her 91st and Giovanni Campanelli his 14th by coming to Ruthven.) Ken showed us all a picture of her taken a couple of years ago at Long Point where she had the opportunity to hold a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Well…it was deja vu all over again.

Hummer in the net. - C. Scholtens

Feeling a bit like the Pied Piper (except, in this case, the children weren’t following me – I was following them as they raced from net lane to net lane) I came up to Net 5 to find a beautiful male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. We catch the odd one although, usually, they go right through.

Extracting a hummingbird requires the hands of a neurosurgeon.... -S. Cheesman

Extracting them is usually straighforward but painstaking due to their very tiny legs and feet – they weigh only 3 grams – less than a quarter.

A beautiful male Ruby-throated hummingbird. - C. Scholtens

The photo moment. - S. Cheesman

It was kind of a birthday treat fraught with irony – she got to hold another one. It flew off none the worse for wear but having made a lot of people very happy.

A deja vu moment for Lexie. - S. Cheesman

Another ironic moment involved infamous Chipping Sparrow #202. Ben had been asking if we had caught it recently – we hadn’t. He was a little disappointed at this news. We closed up all the nets (ahead of the storm) and was just getting to the ground traps only to find a lone Chipping Sparrow – #202 – in it. The last bird of the day.

Ben (with Mom Stephanie) holding infamous Chipping Sparrow #202.

Bird-wise, it was a pretty good day for the time of year. We banded some interesting birds – Gray-cheeked Thrush and Blackpoll Warbler, both long-distance migrants who spend the Winter in South America – and the census “team” heard the Cerulean Warbler.

One of my favourites - Gray-cheeked Thrush. - S. Cheesman

Banded 31:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
1 Wood Thrush
4 Gray Catbirds
1 Red-eyed Vireo
7 Yellow Warblers
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Plackpoll Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Wilson’s Warbler
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
4 Indigo Buntings
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 19:
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warblers
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
2 Chipping Sparrows
5 Brown-headed Cowbirds
3 Baltimore Orioles

ET’s: 59 spp.

Today’s Photo Gallery:

Male Wilson's Warbler - C. Scholtens

New visitor Stephen Cheesman with a Gray Catbird.

Female Common Yellowthroat - C. Scholtens

Red-eyed Vireo: an appropriate name. - C. Scholtens

Wood Thrush - C. Scholtens

Blue-winged Warbler - C. Scholtens


5 thoughts on “May 23rd – The Weekend’s Over – Time For A Rest

  1. Rick,
    Your post today reminds me of something Rachel Carson wrote,

    “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, the excitement, and the mystery of the world we live in.”

    You are that adult. You are a mentor extraordinaire. Thank you for pouring your energy and enthusiasm into our kids. It MUST be exhausting being you! Rest up.

    Joanne Fleet

  2. Loved the quote about the hummingbird. Wish we had of been there to see that! Next year. Enjoy your rest, but I thought some school groups were coming this week? LOL!

  3. One other highlight of the day was the discovery of a hummingbird nest under construction. While doing the daily census around the trails with Peter Scholtens and some of the kids, I saw a hummingbird land on a branch, and it seemed to have something in its beak, which it wove into the barest of gossammer strands straddling the branch. Sure enough, when we returned later the hummer was continuing to build the tiny nest, which measured barely a twoony in diameter and not much deeper.

  4. Hi Rick,

    We had not checked out the Ruthven website until today and were VERY surprised! What a wonderful story you wrote about Lexie! We have printed it as a family memento. She does love being up close and personal with birds. We appreciate so much what you are doing for kids. Your kindly patience is most commendable. You are investing a wealth of love and understanding for the joys of nature in a world where electronic gadgets reign supreme in many homes. This has now become a definite tradition for Lexie and I. We may still do this when she’s an adult.

    Hope to see you in September. Many thanks, Ken Dolbear

  5. I love the picture of the humming bird thanks Rick!!!
    I hope I see you next year too!!

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