October 17th – 99!?

#1 - first Northern Saw-whet Owl of the season: a SY female.

When you saw “99” and you thought: the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, you would have been wrong. (By the way, did you know that his “bodyguard”, Marty McSorley, grew up just a couple of kilometers down the road from Ruthven). No, “99” (with an exclamation and question mark) indicates that we fell just one banded bird short of 100 – the benchmark that defines a “Big Day”. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: why didn’t you just leave the nets up until you got the 100th bird? But I look at it like this: the daytime banders banded 98 birds; the nighttime/owl bander (Nancy) only banded one. Now, it was a nice one but….it’s still only one bird. I think it’s fully incumbent on the nighttime staff to contribute a little more than that…….

All kidding aside, it was a big coup for Nancy, who mixed napping with net checks throughout the night to catch the first owl of the season (a SY female). She got it around midnight, despite the gusting wind and cold. And she stayed on for the rest of the daytime banding session as well…..

Myrtle Warblers continue to move through the site although it was difficult to get an accurate assessment of their numbers due to the wind, which made hearing their “chip” notes difficult. There were also a lot of Cedar Waxwings around. No wonder. With a lot of the leaves off the trees, it is easy to see the enormous grape crop we have. We had one sizeable “hit” in net 9A which is surrounded by grapes.

Female Rusty Blackbird - first one of the Fall.

Rusty Blackbirds continue to show themselves in small numbers but today we finally caught one. These amazing birds are decling drastically due to eradication measures aimed at Red-winged Blackbirds in the southern States – the measures don’t discrimanate between the two species even though Rusty’s inhabit wet areas and river bottoms down there while the Red-wings are responsible for the crop damage.

Carol and Loretta...hard at work.

The wind was a big factor today, billowing many of the nets and, as it increased in strength through the morning, forcing the early closure of some. Still, it was a great day and we had enough birds to keep the limited attention spans of the 30 or so kindergarten kids somewhat focused…..felt sort of like nailing jello to the wall.

Banded 99:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Northern Saw-whet Owl
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Hermit Thrush
2 American Robins
30 Cedar Waxwings
2 Nashville Warblers
36 Myrtle Warblers
2 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
7 White-throated Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Rusty Blackbird
10 American Goldfinches

Male Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker

Retrapped 35:
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
2 Cedar Waxwings
12 Myrtle Warblers
3 Chipping Sparrows
5 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
7 Dark-eyed Juncos
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 43 spp.

 Birds banded per 100 net hours (excluding the owl): 84


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