October 13th & 14th – Thwarted Craving

Fox Sparrow – one of my favourite sparrows.

This was one of those mornings…the kind of morning when you just want things to yourself, peace and quiet…you know. We have been on quite a frenetic pace here this Fall: lots of visitors, lots of volunteers (keen to get some training), lots of kids, and….LOTS of birds. We currently sit at almost 3,600 banded and still have over 3 weeks to go. Lots of birds means lots of data entry and this morning I had a big craving to just sequester myself and make a big hole in that pile of data. And I thought I was in luck; while having my early morning tea there was a heavy rain drumming on the kitchen roof. Wonderful. I packed up my laptop and prepared to spend the day in the quiet of the banding lab typing away and listening to some great tunes in my ear buds.

But it just wasn’t to be. No sooner had I fired up the laptop and arranged the first data sheet than the rain diminished to a sprinkle. Ominous. And then the wind, which had been blowing like stink, dropped a little. Even more ominous. And then Carol Jones comes motoring up the driveway and reported that she had been checking the weather radar and that there was a big “hole” between the rain which had just passed and an ugly system happening in Michigan “so we just might be able to open some nets and catch some birds before it gets bad again”. Damn…she’s becoming quite a keener but there was no arguing with her logic. So we did a census and then opened the nets least affected by the wind and baited the traps.

Jennie with her first banded bird – a junco. -R. McKay

Now, the birds weren’t around like they were yesterday – we had quite an influx of Ruby-crowned Kinglets (banding 17), Hermit Thrushes (15) and Dark-eyed Juncos (21). Overall, we banded 112 birds yesterday (including the 7 Northern Saw-whet-Owls caught durng the night by Nancy and the “owl team”). Today, although we had Pine Siskins around in half decent numbers, the other birds just weren’t noticeable, especially sparrows. It appears that they might have moved on ahead of the bad weather last night….and nothing came in to take their place. (Or maybe they were just hunkered down to get out of the wind……but they certainly were not noticeable.)

The bottom line, though, is that I’m no further ahead in terms of data entry. In fact, the 22 birds we banded today put me that much further behind…oh well, maybe there will be another real rainy day I can take advantage of in the near future.

Carol pointed out that it seemed to her that we had banded a LOT of Ruby-crowned Kinglets this season. And she was right: the Fall record was 101; so far we have banded 144.

(Daytime) Photo Gallery:

Bill anomaly (crossed) on a Gray-cheeked Thrush. -R. McKay

Kathleen acting as bag lady. -R. McKay

Jennie with a Gray-cheeked Thrush. -R. McKay

Finally…the Downies have discovered the suet. -R. McKay

Song Sparrow waiting for extraction. -R. McKay

Me with Robin and Jennie – two new very enthusiastic volunteers. -K. McKay

October 13th; Banded 112:
[7 Northern Saw-whet Owls – caught by Nancy and the owl team during the night]
5 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
17 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
15 Hermit Thrushes
4 Myrtle Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Field Sparrow
7 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
3 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows’
21 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 House Finches
6 Pine Siskins
16 American Goldfinches
ET’s: 38 spp.

October 14th; Banded 22:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 Hermit Thrushes
5 Myrtle Warblers
1 Fox Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
2 Pine Siskins
3 American Goldfinches
ET’s: 38 spp.
Fall Banding Total: 3,599
Year-to-Date Banding Total: 6,184

Just part of the night’s catch. -R. Leshyk

Friday Night “Owl Prowl”:
From the looks of it, the banding lab was a happening place Friday night. Lots of people came out to see one of the diminutive Saw-whet Owls. And they weren’t disappointed – the team caught 7 new birds!

Just released. -R. Leshyk

An angry-looking Saw-whet. -R. Leshyk

One of seven caught Friday night. -R. Leshyk

Friday “Owl Night” was a busy time. -N. Furber


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