October 20th – A Bus Tour of Goldfinches

I was going to say old folks like to go on bus tours but I don’t want to get hit with “profiling” so I’ll say that individuals of a more mature persuasion and who like all the details and logistics taken car of for them like to go on bus tours. In the Fall, about 80-85% of all birds caught are young (“Hatch Year” – HY) birds. This Fall (as I’ve mentioned on several occasions in this blog) we’ve banded comparatively few American Goldfinches (still less than 200). Today we handled 13 of them, all at about the same time; 8 or 62% of them were older (“After Hatch Year” – AHY) birds – very unusual. When I mentioned this to visitor Michelle Bultje, who was scribing at the time, she remarked that it must be a bus tour of them….I thought this was quite witty. It’s still quite odd….and I’m referring to the age mix.

The first half of the morning was clear, cool and windless. Early on, at opening time, there had been a lot of sparrows ‘chipping’ along the edges and in the river flats and many found their way into the nets – the new river net, 8R, got a lot of them. But the wind picked up and then really started to blow; after that all we got was leaves. This was unfortunate because there were birds around to catch. Interestingly, we didn’t get a single Cedar Waxwing today and their overall numbers were down considerably. They’ve cleaned out our berry crop and are moving on. (Or maybe the wind got up before we could net them. When we’ve caught large numbers of them it’s always been in the latter part of the morning, usually right around closing time.)

Banded 71:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
4 Hermit Thrushes
5 Myrtle Warblers
7 Song Sparrows
19 White-throated Sparrows
8 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
2 Purple Finches
12 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 23:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
4 Hermit Thrushes
2 Song Sparrows
5 White-throated Sparrows
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 American Goldfinches (banded May 2006; not encountered since then)

ET’s: 36

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