November 7th – The End: 3,963!

A Southern Flying Squirrel - bycatch in Staurday night's owl hunt. - E. Campanelli

Well….the team went down fighting. The cloudy skies gave us a chance of reaching our goal of 4,000 and there were certainly more birds around today than yesterday (which wouldn’t have been difficult) but in the end, we fell a little short. The 54 we banded gave us a season total of 3,963, which, still, is the second highest Fall total in our history – so not too shabby. This result is really surprising when you consider the disastrous September we had in which we managed to band only 832 birds – our lowest total for that month.

Going around the grounds, doing net rounds, you really got the feeling that it was over: very few trees are carrying any leaves, the goldenrod has all died, and bird diversity is low: we encountered a total of only 33 species today despite lots of skilled observers vigilantly checking the forest edges and the sky.

Today's team enjoying brunch.

We even had international cuisine - Quark Kuchen by Anne - delicious!

Most satisfying about the season was the incredible growth of the team as a whole. In our early days, we had a “core group” of one…me. Now we have over 12 people (of all ages) who came out on a regular basis and developed good skills in either scribing or banding or both so that we were able to run more nets more efficiently. This bodes well for the future – I’m already excited about the start of the Spring season! But now, we can set our sights on a more immediate (and exciting) task: Snow Buntings.

Nancy - the "Owl Lady" - J. Manning

[It should be noted that, although the migration monitoring aspect of the program finished today, Nancy will continue to try for Saw-whet Owls for another week or so whenever she gets the chance and the weather co-operates; contact her if you’re interested in helping out.]

In Saw-whets, new (pink) and old (plain) feathers show up under black lighting. - J. Manning

The wing of an ASY Saw-whet owl. - J. Manning

These eyes must strike terror into the hearts of small birds and rodents. - J. Manning

As I haven’t been able to post any pictures for a couple of days, I will try to make up for it at the end of the blog in a Photo Gallery. Also, I am just summarizing the results now and will send them out in another blog either tomorrow or the day after.

Comparison of the colour possibilities in the rectrices of Cedar Waxwings.

Cedar Waxwing going through a complete moult. Note the differences in the colouration of the old (brown) and new (gray) flight feathers.

Banded 54:
3 Mourning Doves
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Bluebird
9 Cedar Waxwings
5 American Tree Sparrows
2 Chipping Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
5 House Finches
25 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 29:
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Gray Catbird
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
10 Dark-eyed Juncos
14 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 33 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 36

Photo Gallery:

Compare the feather growth of this Gray Catbird pictured on November 1st - it had lost secondaries on the right wing.

Rectrices of an AHY-Female American Goldfinch

Rectrices of a HY-Female American Goldfinch

Bald Eagles are seen almost daily now at Ruthven. - B. McCreadie

Carol, Anne and Rhiannon finishing off the day......

A touch of finality - Nancy packing away the nets.....until next Spring - less than 5 months away!

Bill McCreadie thinking about the shot that got away......

White-breasted Nuthatch. - C. Scholtens

Red-bellied Woodpecker eating fruit. - C. Scholtens

The dark maroon eye of an AHY junco.

Faye, Hannah, Jonathan and Peter marching Net 3 back to Net 1.

Downy Woodpecker on the sunflower feeder. - C. Scholtens

Part of the banding team enjoying an end of the year lunch.

Nancy and Christine - the heart of the owl team.


5 thoughts on “November 7th – The End: 3,963!

  1. Hello, thanks for your wonderful blog. I only started reading a couple weeks ago, but it’s very detailed and quite enjoyable to read. It had me thinking about visiting for banding, but it seems I missed my chance for this season. How would I contact Nancy to see if she’s banding on a good weather night? Many kind thanks once again for your detailed accounts of the happenings at Ruthven.

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