October 10th – Giving Thanks for Birds, Kids and Cars(?)

The bird of the day: a HY male Eastern Towhee

Wing of the Eastern Towhee showing juvenile primary coverts.

Eastern Towhee tail/rump - showing juvenile, brown-edged feathering.

This was a very “busy” day but a very gratifying one. Thanksgiving. Beautiful weather. The annual car cruise. We had lots of visitors to the banding lab, especially kids, whose parents brought them out to celebrate the outdoors and the wildlife at Ruthven. It’s always a neat thing for me to play the Pied Piper – doing net rounds with a retinue of kids anxious to get to be able to carry a full bird bag back to the lab….and of course remember what net lane it came from!! They all did really well, even without i-pegs.

McKenna releasing a bird.

A fine set of helpers - not one forgot which net lane their bird was caught in! (Elliot, Sophia, Simon, Jack, McKenna, & Micah)

Peter Scholtens' retinue: front-Emma, Jonathan, Peter and Micah; back-Diana, Hannah, Caleb, Jessica, and Darren.

We had a good number of birds, leading off with a very nice male Eastern Towhee. Myrtle Warblers also continue to pour through – we banded another 24, bringing our total for the Fall to well over 140. Sounds good but considering there’s estimated to be 12,000,000 breeding in the province……

Joanne vacillates between furling a net correctly and an anxiety attack.

Later in the morning, when it really began to heat up, the numbers of birds dropped right off to just a trickle; we had just three when we closed the nets. Speaking of closing nets……Joanne, who has aspirations of becoming a bander (she’s already a banding afficionado), is learning how to “loosen up” when furling the nets – both figuratively and actually.

Betsy Smith with husband Fred's vintage car. Word has it that Betsy was the inspiration behind famed country/folk music singer Jerry Jeff Walker's classic hit: "Red-necked Mothuh".

The Car Cruise is an annual Thanksgiving event at Ruthven. When I see all those vintage cars drive onto the grounds and watch their owners treat them with such immense care (not one finger print on any of those wax jobs!), the thought jumps into my mind: “I feel like I’m at the dawn of time when Man first learned to kill senselessly”. I examined that feeling today and wondered…..why do I always think this. I mean, these guys are just as keen about their cars as I am about birds. And then an inkling of insight wormed its way into my conciousness: jealousy. Quite simply, I’m mechanically challenged and couldn’t possibly even think about doing what these guys achieve. Ahhh…..I feel better now, sort of purged…..

Classics covered the lawns on three sides of the Mansion.

Vintage cars were lined up along the path leading down to the cemetery.

View from the "Widow's Walk" on the top of the Mansion.

Banded 54:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Brown Creeper
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Hermit Thrushes
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 Nashville Warbler
24 Myrtle Warblers
1 Black-throated Green Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Eastern Towhee
11 Song Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow

Retrapped 25:
1 House Wren
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
4 Chipping Sparrows
7 Song Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
7 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
1 Brown-headed Cowbird (haven’t had one of these in a couple of months)

ET’s: 45 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 41


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