May 27th – A Late Spring “Fall-out”

Part of today's record-breaking team: Bronwen, Liz and Nancy (l. to r.)

My concern about setting a new Spring record is now kind of a moot point. The weather conditions during the night resulted in a substantial “fall-out” that brought a large number of migrants to earth in the vicinity of Ruthven. [If anyone knows where I can find information on the area weather patterns last night – especially the wind direction and speed – I would like to know about it.] Small migrating birds typically fly at an elevation of about 1,000 m. They take off shortly after sundown and fly for 6 to 8 hours, setting down before the sunrises. But sometime during the night, conditions deteriorated – probably resulting in headwinds and possibly fog aproaching Lake Ontario from the south – and the birds came down early and in concentrations. You can imagine my surprise when I was doing the first net round, fully expecting just a few birds as has been the pattern over the last week or so, and found multiple birds in ALL of the nets and many of these being warblers. When the dust cleared, we had banded 83 new birds – 47 (56%) of them warblers of 9 species. This put us close to the record but Christine, Chris and Nancy went out and banded 15 young Eastern Bluebirds in nest boxes pushing our total for the Spring to 1,891.


The banding crew this morning did an exceptionally good job, efficiently extracting and processing the birds while, at the same time, getting a census done AND demonstrating what we’re doing to a sizeable group of grand 4’s from Dunnville.

Beside the record, there were some interesting things: we caught a Gray Catbird with 2 growths on its upper bill. These caused the mandibles to be offset. I’d like to know what the growths were.

Gray Catbird with growth on the upper mandible. -B. Tregunno

Gray Catbird with growth on bill, causing the mandibles to be somewhat offset. - B. Tregunno

We also had a couple of interesting retraps – an Eastern Wood Pewee that we banded last year and a Yellow-throated Vireo that we had banded as an adult in 2009. Both of these birds have spent the Winter in the Tropics but have found their way back through who knows what to Ruthven. Amazing!!

Yellow-throated Vireo - originally banded as an adult in 2009. - B. Tregunno

Banded last year, this Eastern Wood Pewee probably spent the Winter in the jungles of South America. - B. Tregunno

Banded 98:
3 Yellow-bellied Flycatchers
4 Traill’s Flycatchers
1 House Wren
15 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
7 Swainson’s Thrushes
1 American Robin
6 Gray Catbirds
6 Cedar Waxwings
4 Red-eyed Vireos
4 Yellow Warblers
4 Chestnut-sided Warblers
5 Magnolia Warblers
1 Black-throated Blue Warblers
15 American Redstarts
3 Northern Waterthrushes
6 Common Yellowthroats
3 Wilson’s Warblers
6 Canada Warblers
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
2 Indigo Buntings

Retrapped 11:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Gray Catbird
1 Yellow-throated Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warblers
3 Yellow Warblers
1 Song Sparrow
1 Baltimore Oriole

ET’s: 63 spp.

Photo Gallery (thanks to Bronwen Tregunno):

American Redstarts: female on left; SY male on right. -B. Tregunno


Male Cedar Waxwing showing its "sealing wax" red feather tips. - B. Tregunno


Gray-cheeked Thrush on the left; Swainson's Thrush on the right. - B. Tregunno


Male Wilson's Warbler - raised crest indicating his displeasure. - B. Tregunno


1 thought on “May 27th – A Late Spring “Fall-out”

  1. Congratulations on the new record! I enjoy reading about the warbler re-traps from years ago, if only they could share what is sure to be an amazing story. I learn so much just reading your posts.

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