November 2nd – A Wet, Short Day

Jake, another young bird phenom developed by Joanne Fleet, puts a band on an American Goldfinch.

Jake, another young bird phenom developed by Joanne Fleet, puts a band on an American Goldfinch.


Things are drawing down and, after 44 straight days of banding, I’m finding it progressively harder to climb out of bed (even if it is later and later). I had checked the radar and forecasts last night and fully expected it to be raining when I got up – translation: a data entry day. But I, or the radar, or the prognosticators were all wrong. So off I went and opened only the core nets….in anticipation. The rain eventually did come forcing us to close down early. But in the meantime we caught and banded 19 birds.

Rusty Blackbirds and Cedar Waxwings were still around in good numbers – although not as many as yesterday – but the bird I’m noticing is the American Goldfinch. We banded 17 yesterday and another 10 today – the two single-day highest totals for this Fall. This fact alone indicates what a poor season it’s been for them. Something bad has happened to this species. And it’s not just me; everyone I’ve talked to who has kept feeders over the years is noticing a decline in their numbers this Fall (and see the comment after yesterday’s blog).

Banded 19:
1 Northern Cardinal
5 American Tree Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco
10 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 28 spp.

1 thought on “November 2nd – A Wet, Short Day

  1. Hi Rick. Our customers and ourselves have noticed a dramatic decline in goldfinch activity and sightings since spring. It has been grim in terms of nyjer sales in the store, most customers are not needing to refill their feeders. Have been in contact with other Wild Bird Unlimiteds and we all are experiencing this in varying degrees. We were hoping it was just availability of natural foods, but even goldfinch sightings are becoming rare in our area. I have been worried about their numbers for a while too and have been interested to see your banding numbers and observations. Your findings of a few with swollen eyes may be the beginning of an answer (a horrible scenario though). I get asked daily “where are the goldfinches” and was hoping they would be back this fall. Hopefully, we are not dealing another conjunctivitis issue. Thanks for the great blog, and sharing your observations and thoughts. Keep up the great work!

    Lynda
    Wild Birds Unlimited
    Toronto, Ontario

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