May 2nd – Bird Enthusiasts Being Bird Enthusiasts

Barbara Selley proving that persistence has its rewards.

Sometimes persistence pays off. Barb and David Selley visited Ruthven all weekend with the goal of seeing an Eastern Tufted Titmouse in Ontario. Despite lots of looking they didn’t get it. This morning, in the drizzle, they gave it one last shot before returning to their home in Toronto. Still no luck. But then, just as they were getting ready to leave, I caught one in the net. So their stick-to-it-ness paid off.

Bird enthusiasts being bird enthusiasts: Elaine, Maggie, Peter, Jeannie, Lynn and Michael

From a birding perspective, it was a pretty mundane day but I went home feeling that it was, in fact, a very good day. I think this was because of the mix of banders, volunteers and visitors. When there weren’t birds to process (and even when there were) it was simply comfortable to sit around and shoot the breeze. We didn’t get a lot of birds but we got enough so that those that were trying to learn how to band or scribe could do so without undue pressure and with the time to point out what the particular nuances of aging and sexing and fat calibration were for each bird. In short, it was a morning of bird enthusiasts simply being bird enthusiasts together. It’s hard to do that in other venues.

It was raining when I arrived shortly before 6:00 so I waited. When the rain turned to drizzle I opend a couple of the closest nets (so they could be easily monitored) and set out the traps. Later in the morning, when the drizzle stopped, I opened a couple more. We didn’t get a big rush or anything ‘spectacular’. Lots of retraps but not many ‘new’ birds. Everything is waiting on the weather to change.

Well-camouflaged American Woodcock on her nest - Christine Madliger

Christine and Chris dropped in a couple of times with a couple of pieces of good news: in the course of monitoring the Tree Swallow boxes on the property (for Christine’s Master’s project), they found 13 (!) boxes occupied by nesting Eastern Bluebirds. Also, they found (actually Chris nearly stepped on it) a nesting American Woodcock sitting on 4 eggs. These birds are so wonderfully cryptically coloured that you rarely see them let alone their nest.

Banded 28:
1 Tree Swallow
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Brown Creeper
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
4 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Common Grackle
9 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 36:
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
2 American Tree Sparrows
15 Chipping Sparrows (including #202….twice)
3 Field Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Common Grackle
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
3 American Godlfinches

ET’s: 46 spp.

Today’s Photo Gallery:

"Tan morph" White-throated Sparrow

Young (SY) male Red-winged Blackbird

Older (ASY) male Red-winged Blackbird

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - B. Wevers

Field Sparrow - B. Wevers

White-crowned Sparrow - by Bob Wevers


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