May 30th – Like Grand Central Station at Rush Hour

Cedar Waxwings continue to flock through. - E. Campanelli

I’ve never been to New York City’s Grand Central Station at rush hour but, if I had been, I’m sure it would not have seemed much different than the banding lab today. We had the “Whiz Kids” and their parents, and a long list of our adult volunteers arrive by 7:00 AM (or earlier). And these aren’t the “I’ll just sit back and watch” kinds of folks – they all want to be involved….meaningfully. This is GREAT!! But it does require some thoughtful co-ordination. I was pretty good at the co-ordination bit; I’m not so sure about the thoughtful… Thank goodness Peter Thoem had a bunch help him with the census and Peter Scholtens attracted some efforts into improving the muddy trail down to net 4. (Somehow wheeling a barrow with wood chips isn’t as attractive to young minds as racing from one net to another to see if it has anything in it.) But despite all the energy of people rushing off in all directions, the whole morning had the feel of a party, a celebration, as we moved toward the end of the season. And there were goodies: cookies and muffins and chocolates and sandwiches and coffee. But best of all, there was good feeling. People connecting, sharing the present, and then planning for the future when they can make it all happen again.

The "Whiz Kids": Zakhar, Caleb, Ben, Ezra, Giovanni, Hugh, Jonathan, Hannah (l. to r.)

But that wasn’t the end of it. A school group of 27 individuals arrived to see what banding was all about. Of course, by the time they got there most of the “good” birds (according to our expert panel of judges) had gone. (And they left too early to see the best bird of the day – a male Mourning Warbler.)

So when the nets were closed and the parking lot clear I was able to kick back and feel: this was a good day.

Female Chestnut-sided Warbler - E. Campanelli

Traill's Flycatcher - E. Campanelli

For the end of May, this was a very good day bird-wise. Flycatchers, Cedar Waxwings, a smattering of warblers. We banded 26. This pushed our new Spring record to over 2,000 (2,012) birds!!

As well as the number banded, we’re really pleased about a number of other things:
– the Purple Martin colony has quadrupled (at least) from last year;

Purple Martins seem to prefer the hanging gourd houses. - E. Campanelli

– the hummingbird feeders are drawing the little birds to our windows for everyone to see;

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in large numbers are enjoying the window feeders. - E. Campanelli

– the number of volunteers who want to make a meaningful impact has increased dramatically;

Monica and Indigo Bunting - E. Campanelli

– the banding lab has a very positive atmosphere – visitors and volunteers go away feeling this
is a good place to be. And that’s what it should be all about.
– the blog has been completed daily and, although not Pulitzer Prize stuff, has met
critical acclaim if not noteriety;
– the blog has become a venue for budding -and seasoned- photographers to showcase their
work (and I’m impressed with the quality – as well as the art – of some of their shots).

Banded 26:
1 Downy Woodpecker
5 Traill’s Flycatchers (using measurements we determined one was probably a Willow and anther was an Alder)
1 Least Flycatcher
2 Gray Catbirds
4 Cedar Waxwings
1 Warbling Vireo
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Chestnut-sided Warblers
2 Magnolia Warblers
1 Mourning Warbler
4 Wilson’s Warblers
1 Indigo Bunting

The "sealing wax" tips of a Waxwing. - E. Campanelli

Retrapped 9:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 House Wrens
1 American Robin
1 Chipping Sparrow
3 Brown-headed Cowbirds

ET’s: 58 spp.

Today’s Photo Gallery:

Traill's Flycatcher - Willow or Alder? - E. Campanelli

Female Magnolia Warbler - E. Campanelli

Wilson's Warbler - note the yellow "eye stripe". - E. Campanelli

The "stern" look of a House Wren. - E. Campanelli

Red-bellied Woodpecker on the feeder pole. E. Campanelli

Hugh - from San Francisco - and Warbling Vireo. - E Campanelli


1 thought on “May 30th – Like Grand Central Station at Rush Hour

  1. It’s a lovely place with great people and I am so happy we discovered it! It’s made me want to do more in the birding world as you are aware. And, I am so going to miss the daily blog! 🙁 I loved reading about the birds and the people who stopped by.

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