October 20th-22nd – Whew!….And WOW!!

We have banded over 130 Ruby-crowned Kinglets so far. -RC

It has been a very busy few days! I was at Fern Hill Oakville on Friday morning before driving down to Windsor to take in a Steely Dan concert – fantastic!! Twelve incredible musicians in their own right combined to form one of the best bands….ever. [I had been a little skeptical when one half of the creative duo that wrote all the music – Walter Becker, the guitarist, in conjunction with Donald Fagan, the keyboardist – died in early September. But his replacement, John Harrington was outstanding.] I got to bed at 3 AM and then had to get up and open nets starting at 6:45 in preparation for Bird Festival Day. We didn’t get a ton of birds but enough to keep the 95+ visitors happy. And in the afternoon we had two exceptional speakers, Bob Montgomerie, from Queen’s, and Stu Mackenzie from BSC. And if this wasn’t enough….we did some owling Saturday night. And today? Early morning net opening and then a workshop commemorating Paschendale, with military re-enactors. So….whew! A busy time.

Just a small part of the visitors to the banding program on Saturday. -SM

But the best thing….well, one of the best things, was this note from Stu Mackenzie. After his talk, Stu went out to our Motus tower and downloaded the data that had accumulated since early July when it was erected. Wow!!

Hi Rick,
In retrospect, I wish I had downloaded the data ahead of time because I probably could have reported on this in my presentation.
Anyway, after being deployed on July 10, your station detected about 20 different tagged birds this fall. The vast majority of them were Barn Swallows, but there were 4 or 5 that were likely PUMA (identical tags that we need to sort out). Probably most interesting is a Loggerhead Shrike from Carden or Napanee that flew by on September 8. Where were you when that flew by 😉
Please pass this on to whomever you think would be interested. Soon you’ll be able to view the tracks of these bird via the website.

Friday, October 20th; Ruthven:
Mike breathed a sigh of relief when volunteer Karen Petrie arrived. He was starting into a Big Day and really needed her skilled help. When the dust settled they had banded 125 birds:
1 Eastern Phoebe

Brown Creeper. -SM

1 Brown Creeper
10 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Hermit Thrush
1 American Robin
60 Cedar Waxwings
7 Myrtle Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow
7 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
5 White-throated Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird
2 House Finches
25 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 40 spp.

Saturday, October 21st; Ruthven:
The banding lab was very busy right from the getgo. Young Bagger, Ethan Gosnell, did a wonderful job leading the census hike turning up 34 species on a day when there didn’t seem to be much around. As well as interested visitors we had a crew of 3rd-year McMaster students who came out for some exposure to bird banding/field skills. So the more “relaxed” pace was good both for showing birds to the public and for teaching students how to handle birds, band and take morphometrics.
Banded 37:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
1 House Wren
6 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
5 Hermit Thrushes
5 Myrtle Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Field Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
5 Dark-eyed Juncos
5 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 43 spp.

Part of the banding crew sporting the new “look” for the station: pink T-shirts. -SM

An Old Geezer extolls the virtues of hard work to the Young Baggers. -SM

The YB’s thinking it over. -SM

#1 -SM

Saturday night Owling:
We had a big crowd (36 people) with big expectations. You know, sometimes we just don’t get any….. The first 2 net checks left us empty-handed but the 3rd produced one (big sigh of collective relief) and we got two more after that! So I think everyone was happy.

# 2&3> -SM

Killer feet and some nice bling. -SM

Sunday, October 22nd; Ruthven:
The slow pace from yesterday continued today, aided and abetted by unseasonably warm (hot?) weather and blue skies. Two of the Young Baggers had slept over in the banding lab and when they were joined by two more the boredom from the slow pace was transformed into a creative process. They explored the banding lab and discovered a hatch that lead into the “attic”. This they quickly began to transform into a sleeping loft for future stayovers. It would certainly remove the clutter of sleeping bodies on the banding lab floor and move the snoring to a better place. Of course these guys can’t seem to do anything without some hijinx:

The problem of sleeping clutter. -RC

A three-toed Sloth? Or a Bagger seeking a solution? =RC

“We’ve found it”! Our penthouse. -RC

Banded 36:
1 Northern Flicker

Male Northern Flicker

1 Blue Jay
2 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
3 American Robins
12 Cedar Waxwings
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Song Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 37 spp.

Kim with a flicker she’s just banded.

White-throated Sparrow -RC

Rusty Blackbirds -RC

Monarch and Painted Lady in Carol’s hummingbird garden. -RC

Yellow Sulphur butterfly. -RC

This week at Fern Hill
Hi Rick,
Wow this week as flown by. We’ve been busily banding (as you know) and on top of this the school has been working hard fundraising for both Oakville and Burlington’s hospital foundations. This means early mornings banding and late evenings hosting fundraisers. Throw in a wildly successful owling night at the Oakville campus and you have one busy, action packed, and bird filled week! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
However, this means I have some catching up to do! In Burlington Janice and I were busy on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, while you and I were slinging birds left and right on Monday, Wednesday night, and Friday morning.

In Burlington on Wednesday we observed an Estimated total if 23 species on census, and we banded 8 birds including:
2 Ruby Crowned Kinglets
1 Golden Crowned Kinglet
1 Black Capped Chickadee
1 White Throated Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 American Robin

Thursday was quite a slow day bandingwise with difficult wind conditions blowing out the nets, resulting in us having us close them periodically. We banded 2 birds:
1 Ruby Crowned Kinglet
1 Song Sparrow

However on Census we observed a total of 30 species with a MEGA visible migration of American robins (366 estimated!) Also a high number of red-winged blackbirds (271) kept my students hopping as they tried their best to count the seemingly never ending stream of birds!

Friday morning at the Oakville campus was fairly busy. We had an interesting view of Turkey Vulture migration: we hadn’t seen any all morning and then, just before noon, a long string of over 30 birds came into view. They were drifting in from Mississauga and heading SW. Where had they come from? Had they just traversed Toronto and Mississauga? What a route that would have been!

Banded 21:
3 Downy Woodpeckers
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
12 Dark-eyed Juncos

One thought on “October 20th-22nd – Whew!….And WOW!!

  1. I like how you called it the “Penthouse”. It sounds so much better than what we had in mind

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