November 2nd-5th – Drawing To A Close

A sure sign that the season is drawing to a close – Faye and Dave taking down the nets and bringing in the sound system. -NRF

It’s been a busy, hectic few days with lots going on, interspersed with bouts of bad weather (today, for example, being a washout). On the 2nd Fern Hill Oakville’s Grade 2’s visited the Ruthven banding program (and house tour). We were fortunate in having lots of birds to keep everyone happy, handling 67 (37 banded, 30 retraps). In contrast, the 3rd was really slow at Ruthven (we banded only 8!) but, interestingly, busy at Fern Hill in Burlington – they banded 21 including a rare (for this area and time of year) White-eyed Vireo. That night we had an open-to-the-public owling session and pulled in 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls and retrapped an Eastern Screech Owl that we had banded about 2 weeks before. The 4th was busy again – it’s a topsy turvy time of year for bird movement – and we banded another 59. And, as I mentioned, today, the 5th, was a write-off. So as it stands now we have banded 2,838 birds this Fall in our “standard” banding operation and another 260 in our “non-standard” operations for a total of 3,098 birds!

We started to take down nets on the 4th and will continue to do so over the next couple of days. Banding officially ends on the 7th.

November 2nd; Ruthven; Banded 37:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Brown Creeper
9 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
5 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Hermit Thrush
6 American Tree Sparrows

Fox Sparrow. -KAP

1 Fox Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco. -KAP

3 Dark-eyed Juncos
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 28 spp.

November 3rd;
Ruthven; Banded 8:

5 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Tree Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco

ET’s: 29 spp.

What a treat!! A White-eyed Vireo banded Friday at Fern Hill, Burlington. -JJC

Fern Hill Burlington; Banded 23:
Migration monitoring is winding down here at Fern Hill Burlington, but on Friday Janice and I were surprised with a few gems!
Early in the day a small group of grade seven and eight boys were helping with milkweed planting when Janice called us over to check out the gorgeous (and first ever!) White Eyed Vireo caught at our school!
We also recaptured a beautiful female Slate Coloured Junco-first banded in 2013! It is so valuable to recapture birds so we can study their movements and migration habits, aging process, and understand how important it is to conserve bird habitats. Just imagine the natural and man made challenges she goes through-and survives-each year on her long travels.
We banded 23:
9 American Goldfinch
10 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 American Tree Sparrows
1 Fox Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Dark-eyed Junco

Gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl. -AAW

Ruthven Owling:
The temperature dropped as did the wind and we were confidently hopeful that the owls wouldn’t let us down. On the first round we got 4 owls all in the same net: 3 Northern Saw-whet Owls and an Eastern Screech Owl. Although it seems innocuous, the screech owl was quite likely there to predate a saw-whet…When the night was over we added another 2 saw-whets to the total. As a great finish to the owl season, Bob And Irene treated us to a buffet of home-made baked goods and coffee. It was a great night (thanks Irene!!!).
Owling pics:

Samuel with “his” (really Sian’s) screech owl. -AAW

One of 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded Friday night. -AAW

Eastern Screech Owl. -BF

The “Owl Lady” – Nancy with a Saw-whet. -BF

So soft to the touch. -BF

Sian (original bander) and Samuel (screech owl bander wannabe) with a recaptured Eastern Screech Owl. -SEF

It’s rare that we get so many Old Bag(ger)s together at one time.

James models the “new look” that the Young Baggers have chosen to adopt for the coming field season.

The screech owl readjusting to the night. -MMG

Jordan with his first Saw-whet. -NRF

Sian (original bander) and Samuel (screech owl bander wannabe) with a recaptured Eastern Screech Owl. -SEF

Polina with her Saw-whet. -SEF

Wing of an older Saw-whet; note the darker (i.e., newer) outer primary feathers. -SEF

Underwing pattern of fluorescence of an older Saw-whet owl. -SEF

November 4th; Ruthven:
We had a major influx of American Goldfinches, banding 37 and recapturing 15 previously banded birds, some of them several years old. My hunch is that these older, more experienced birds lead the young hordes to the food sources that have been quite dependable at Ruthven over the years.

Jordan, an up and coming bander from the Wheatley area. -NRF

Banded 59:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
3 American Robins

Almost a rarity….now: Cedar Waxings. -F. Smith

1 Cedar Waxwing
6 American Tree Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
9 Dark-eyed Juncos
37 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 33 spp.

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