October 23rd & 24th – The Dust Has Settled!

Fern Hill Oakville’s Young Ornithologist getting ready to “camp out” in the Coach House. -KAP

Sometimes, when you start something, you just never know where it might lead. When Joanne Fleet started the field studies program at Fern Hill Burlington I’m not sure she envisioned at first the development of a keen group of “Young Ornithologists”. But she saw the wisdom of doing so early on and then passed this on to Katherine Paveley when she assumed the reins of the program when Joanne left. Katherine was instrumental in cloning the program at the Oakville campus. The great thing about the school is its flexibility to put students into specialized situations that will maximize their learning in areas of great interest.

For the past two days Oakville’s Young Ornithologists have been at Ruthven learning as much as they could about birds and bird study, including banding and censusing. “Camping out” in the Coach House allowed them to spend a full day banding and then stay up late enough to do some owling…..and then get up early to spend another morning opening nets, doing net rounds, banding and scribing. Whew! Quite an exercise in experiential learning.

The students were pretty tired when they left. And we were pretty tired by the time we completed the paperwork and data input – but if you want kids to learn, this is the way to go.

And the birds co-operated! we handled 155 on the 23rd (90 banded and 65 retraps), 5 Saw-whets at night, and another 115 on the 24th (62 banded and 53 retraps): 155 banded in 2 days. That’s a LOT of learning!

October 23rd (daytime); Banded 90:

Female Red-bellied Woodpecker…..and Sonali -DOL

1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 White-breasted Nuthatch

Samuel with his “spirit bird” – a Brown Creeper. -KAP

1 Brown Creeper
1 House Wren
1 Winter Wren

For comparison: House Wren (left) and Winter Wren (right). -DOL

7 Golden-crowned Kinglet
6 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
5 Hermit Thrushes
2 Myrtle Warblers
1 Northern Cardinal
6 Chipping Sparrows
3 Song Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
22 Dark-eyed Juncos
7 Purple Finches
1 House Finch
19 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 47 spp. (including 2 Snow Geese!)

Math teacher (and budding Young Ornithologist….well, maybe not so young….) Chris Hincks with a Northern Saw-whet he has just banded. -KAP

October 23rd (night); Banded 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls:

Chasing midnight…but still lots of smiles. And why not? We were catching Saw-whets! -DOL

October 24th; Banded 62:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
3 Brown Creepers
6 Golden-crowned Kinglets
5 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Hermit Thrushes
5 American Robins
2 Northern Cardinals
1 Field Sparrows
2 Song Sparrows
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow

Dark-eyed Juncos have arrived en masse. -DOL

13 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 Purple Finch
1 Pine Siskin
14 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 43 spp.


Sabriyya with a junco (one of many that we banded over the two days. -DOL

Have pliers will travel. Janice Chard. JDF

Katherine doing some teaching. -JDF

Rasha with a Dark-eyed Junco that she’s just banded. -DOL

3 owls; 3 banders: Stefan, Sonali, Samuel. -DOL

A foreign retrap – sporting a band that isn’t one of ours. -KMP

Ella with a White-breasted Nuthatch. -KAP

David Brewer, a wonderful “bird resource”, checking out an owl. -KAP

Ella with a Saw-whet she has just banded. -KAP

Elliot with one of many American Goldfinches we banded. -KAP

Ella showing a grade 2 student (also from Fern Hill) how to hold a bird in a “bander’s grip”. -KAP

Stefan getting some expert training on how to handle an owl from Nancy. -KAP

And the training paid off: Stefan with an owl he’s just banded. -KAP


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