October 19th – Frenetic!

Nancy and Liz, waterlogged after a speedy run (literally) around the nets to rescue birds from the downpour and close them.

I fully expected, since it was raining hard when I arrived at 6:30, to be entering data all morning (and the 2 sets of visiting students would just be out of luck). So, for an hour or so I entered banding data. But around 8:00 the rain stopped and, although the NE wind was quite brisk, I whipped around opening those nets that I thought were the least affected. In doing so I became very aware that there were a lot of birds around in the woods and wood edges and also flying over; for example, I saw 20 Common Loons in the space of 15 minutes, all heading SSE, pushed along at great speed by a quartering wind. Starlings and blackbirds in small and moderate-sized flocks were always to be seen and robins were a constant (at one point, later in the morning, some raptor must have flown down the stream valley, its passage remarked by the screaming of the jays and 75 robins exploding up out of the woods).

Bags drying after the downpour.

We had a big first round and were working our way through them quite quickly – the first class of kids saw a lot of birds. But no sooner had they left for another aspect of the program, than the skies opened up and it poured. Liz, Nancy and I ran (literally) to the various nets to rescue caught birds and to close the nets (the furling would come later). In doing so we caught another sizeable number. Just as quickly as it had started, the rain stopped. By this time the second group was about to arrive so we opened 3 nets and a couple of traps and managed to catch another 15 or so birds, again, much to the delight of the students. By this time though, most of our bird bags were wet, so the lab appeared decorated for them.

Loretta's new white bags showing the effects of birds eating grapes.

All in all it was a VERY busy morning – banding and dodging the rain. We ended up processing 111 birds (91 banded and 20 retraps) and had 44 different species for ET’s. Interestingly, most of the nets we had open were only open for about 2 hours. Our birds caught and banded per 100 net hours worked out to be 179! I calculated that if we had been able to have all the nets open for the usual 6 hours, we would have banded 244 birds (which still would not have been a record – 271 in 2005).

Banded 91:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
5 Golden-crowned Kinglets
8 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
4 Hermit Thrushes
14 American Robins
23 Cedar Waxwings
23 Myrtle Warblers
1 American Redstart
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrows
5 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 20:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Hermit Thrush
1 American Robin
2 Myrtle Warblers
2 Chipping Sparrows
3 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
5 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 House Finches
1 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 44 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 179


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