May 4th – Bird_a_thoning

Baillie Bird-a-thoning Blessed Sisters of Mercy: Bronwenn, Joyce, Elaine, Diane

We were visited by the Blessed Sisters of Mercy (Elaine Serena, Bronwenn Tregunno, Joyne Litster, and Diane Green) this morning who were intent on seeing as many birds as possible in order to make some money for the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club though the Baillie Bird-a-thon. As it turns out, they picked a good day as there was a lot of diversity about: we encountered 70 species at Ruthven – the highest total this year so far. Now a number of these species were represented by only 1 individual but it still counts.

Stream crossing guarded by a Troll. - photo by B. Tregunno

They were not very subtle about enlisting my help in this endeavour – they brought large amounts of food knowing full well that I can be easily (and readily) bought. We were getting half decent bird numbers (39 banded and 54 retraps for a total of 93) but with Nancy, Liz, Christine and Chris taking over the banding I was able to get away and earn my lunch. A leisurely walk along the River and up onto the train bridge produced 4 new species for the year: Cliff Swallow, Eastern Kingbird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a Wood Thrush.

Now that's a sandwich! photo (and sandwich) - B. Tregunno

At the banding lab we had a couple of interesting retraps:
– a SY female Tree Swallow that had been banded as a hatchling at Taquanyah last Summer
– an ASY Red-winged Blackbird that had been banded in its second year in May 2005 (making it 7 years old).
We also banded 21 American Goldfinches – most of them were bright yellow males.

In keeping with our desire to promote the culinary arts, by making available bander-tested and approved recipes, I would like to suggest you try the one below. I would be more than happy to give you feedback on your efforts.

Bronwenn’s Pumpkin Bread
· 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
· 4 eggs
· 1 cup vegetable oil
· 2/3 cup water
· 3 cups white sugar
· 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
· 2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
· 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Banded 39:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Tree Swallow
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
1 Brewster’s Warbler
1 Black and White Warbler
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrows
1 Baltimore Oriole
1 Purple Finch
21 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 54:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
3 Black-capped Chickadees
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Brown Creeper
1 House Wren
2 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
1 American Tree Sparrow
15 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
3 Song Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
3 Brown-headed Cowbirds
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 70 spp.

Photo Gallery:

SY Red-bellied Woodpecker; note brown primary and secondary coverts.

Nancy feeding a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak - B. Tregunno

New arrival: male Red-breasted Nuthatch


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