May 4th – Half of Yesterday….But Still a Good Half

Despite the cold of the past month, Eastern Bluebirds have managed to nest successfully – one of two nests Jason and Madison found today with a full clutch of eggs. -MS

They also came up with two nests with hatched young. -MS

It was one of those magical mornings, the kind that makes all the mediocre ones fade into the recesses of your memory so that ten years from now you’ll remember the big push of birds in early May rather than the long, slow birdless buildup to it. At opening and all through the day White-throated Sparrows were singing – first along the edges and then, when the sun was well up, back deeper in the forest. Warblers were becoming numerous and seemed to like flitting through the willow just outside the banding lab. And the catches were plentiful with good variety…at least for the first few hours. Later in the morning, though, the catching dropped off precipitously (even though the White-throats could be heard deeper in the woods).

Chipping Sparrow about to take flight. -ELO

We banded almost the same number of birds today as yesterday 85 vs 90. But the crew wasn’t open nearly as long yesterday. The difference was captured in the simple stat: birds caught per 100 net hours. One 12-meter net open for 1 hour equals 1 net hour. So at the end of the day we add up the number of birds banded; divide this by the number of net hours and then multiply this by 100 to get a sense of the “flow” though the area. Yesterday the rate was overwhelming: 135 birds per 100 net hours. It was to the point that the crew closed early in order to process them all safely. Today’s rate was just under half of that – 65 birds per 100 net hours. But we were able to keep everything open for the full standard 6 hours, thus the comparable total number banded. If yesterday’s crew had been able to put in the same number of net hours as we did today they would have banded 165 birds!

Gray Catbird chewing out Madison. -JC

All that being said, we had an exciting day with lots of variety, including the first: Traill’s Flycatcher, Veery, Blue-headed Vireo, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Common Yellowthroat. We also had a large number of visitors.

One of the things I look forward to each Spring is recapturing long-distance migrants that breed around Ruthven. We got a male Yellow Warbler today that was originally banded in May 2016 and had been caught in each subsequent year – only once, but in May. This is its Summer home.

As the weather clears up the current glut of migrants will move on….but I see that unsettled weather marks the coming week so….who knows if more fallouts are on the way?

Banded 85:
1 Mourning Dove
4 Traill’s Flycatchers
1 House Wren
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
28 Ruby-crowned Kinglets

First Veery of the year. -NRF

1 Veery
3 Hermit Thrushes
1 American Robin

Brown Thrasher. -ELO

2 Brown Thrashers

First vireo of the year: Blue-headed Vireo. -JC

1 Blue-headed Vireo

Male Nashville Warbler. -NRF

2 Nashville Warblers
4 Yellow Warblers
4 Myrtle Warblers
2 Black and White Warblers

Bright (ASY) male Common Yellowthroat. -ELO

1 Common Yellowthroat
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
3 Swamp Sparrows
12 White-throated Sparrows (only a small fraction of the birds that were in the area)
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
2 Brown-headed Cowbirds
3 Baltimore Orioles

All black coverts and remiges on the wing of this male American Goldfinch indicates an older or ASY bird. -ELO

5 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 66 spp.

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