October 18th – Birds On The Move

Adult and young Red-headed Woodpeckers - one a drawing by Ben Oldfield, the other the real thing. Can you guess which is which?

It was an interesting day: birds were obviously on the move. All morning you could actually see them – Myrtle Warblers working their way through the goldenrod in the Butterfly Meadow or along the scrub edges, but always moving south; American Robins dropping out of the sky into the scrubby edges (where the fruit is) in two’s and three’s; blackbirds (Red-wings and Rusty’s) flying in small flocks but heading south or southwest (two weeks ago the Red-wings were usually heading north up the river, fanning out from a communal roost in order to feed); large flocks of European Starlings swirling around, descending now and then to strip an area of its fruit. We even had another Common Loon fly over – heading south. And we encountered 51 different species through the course of the day.

Young Red-headed Woodpecker - very uncommon at Ruthven (and in most of Ontario)

The wing pattern of the Red-headed Woodpecker is striking whether it's young or older.

We had a couple of “good” birds again today: perhaps the most exciting was a young (HY) Red-headed Woodpecker. We see very few of them (only the 2nd this year). Rusty Blackbirds were around in larger number than we’ve seen so far – we caught and banded 3 of them but there were at least 75 seen.

Rusty Blackbirds were around in larger numbers today.

On the whole we processed 138 birds – 85 banded; 53 retraps. This kept things interesting for another couple of JK and SK classes from Port Dover (same age group and school as yesterday – must be a breeding boom in Port Dover…..). We handled this situation much differently (and more effectively) than yesterday when I tried to demonstrate to a whole class of 12-15 kids. Today, we broke them up into 2 smaller groups with Matt Timpf taking one and Rhiannon Leshyk the other while Nancy handled the retraps. The teaching they got was much more personal and we were able to hold their interest much longer.

Western Palm Warbler.

Banded 85:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Red-headed Woodpecker
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
9 Hermit Thrushes
2 American Robins
2 Cedar Waxwings
1 Nashville Warbler
33 Myrtle Warblers
1 Western Palm Warbler
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
5 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
12 White-throated Sparrows
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 Rusty Blackbirds
1 House Finch
3 American Goldfinches

Ventral view of the Palm Warbler.

Retrapped 53:
2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Eastern Tufted Titmice
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Hermit Thrushes
1 Nashville Warbler
17 Myrtle Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Chipping Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
5 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
10 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Finch
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 51 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 61

Garbage detail....featuring Marilynn Havelka.


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