May 8th – After The Rain

It's hard to get a good count but our Purple Martin colony now numbers at least 13 birds. - S. Lewis

After a steady regime of getting up earlier and earlier, the hard rain falling at 4:30 was a welcome reprieve. Rather than rush out the door to open nets, I was able to start the morning off right at a more leisurely pace….and a cup of tea.

Stunning male Magnolia Warbler.


Detail of the Magnolia Warbler's tail.

A glimpse at the weather radar showed that the rain was going to taper off before too long so I headed over to Ruthven to take advantage of its stopping and be ready to open as soon as it slowed down. We were about 2 hours later than normal opening the nets but began catching right away. The nice thing about these conditions (wet and overcast) is that they tend to bring the birds down from the treetops into the vertical range of the nets (within only 2 meters off the ground). There were a number of warbler species around (including a couple of stunning Blackburnians) and Yellow-rumps continued to pour through – we banded another 27. Altogether we handled 101 birds: banded 76 and had 25 retraps. And we had a species count of 63.

The spikey verve of a dandeliion seedhead after the rain.

You know, I’ve never been able to figure out some people’s abhorence of Dandelions. Their delightful yellow glows on a green lawn, or anywhere for that matter. And what a tremendous early-Spring source of food. A while back when southern Ontario was inundated with Red Admiral butterflies and we had at least several hundred go through the banding area, they were sustaining themselves by feeding on these wonderful flowers. And now that the flowers have gone to seed, they are providing a bonanza for moulting goldfinches and migrating sparrows. And what pure simple fun it is to blow a seed head and see the little “parachutes” float away on the breeze…looking for a lawn to share. I mean….what’s wrongwith dandelions!?

Banded 76:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
3 Least Flycatchers
1 House Wren
3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Veery
3 Gray Catbirds
1 Tennessee Warbler
3 Nashville Warblers
2 Yellow Warblers
4 Magnolia Warblers
27 Yellow-rumped Warblers
7 Western Palm Warblers
6 Common Yellowthroats
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Baltimore Oriole
4 American Goldfinches

Female Orchard Oriole that is at least 5 years old.

Retrapped 25:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Tree Swallow
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Yellow-rumped Warbler
3 Common Yellowthroats
2 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
3 Baltimore Orioles
3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 63 spp.

Photo Gallery kindly provided by Sheri Lewis of her family’s day at Ruthven on Sunday:

Cooper learning how to hold a bird. - S. Lewis


Cooper with a Baltimore Oriole. - S. Lewis


Madison learning how to hold a bird. - S. Lewis


Madison with a Common Yellowthroat. - S. Lewis


Why "mist" nets are called "mist" nets. - S. Lewis


Inquisitive Tree Swallow. - S. Lewis


Marie-Pier extracting a bird from a net. -S. Lewis


1 thought on “May 8th – After The Rain

  1. I love seeing the Sparrows feast on the dandelions, I’m with you Rick! 🙂

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