October 28th-30th: Last Leg

Note the “fault bar” running across the end of this White-throated Sparrow’s tail – a sign that the bird experienced nutritional stress when those feathers were being grown. -RW

We don’t have long to go now; we’re on the last leg. Long-distance migrants are long gone; the bulk of short-distance migrants have pretty well all moved through; Winter residents have been moving in and soon will be done as well (except for the few stragglers that can make late Fall/early Winter birding so interesting). We’ve been trying to catalogue it all, sometimes buring the candle at both ends – we tried for owls at Fern Hill Oakville on Monday night but with no success.

We’ve been through a good run of warblers; are just finishing off the sparrows; and currently catching goldfinches and juncos. Like any year there have been some noteable ups and downs; e.g., Myrtle Warbler #’s are well below the long-term average (95 vs 307) as are Blackpoll Warblers (28 vs 62) but Red-eyed Vireos hit record levels (157 vs 57). White-throated Sparrow #’s are well above average (317 vs 221) whereas White-crowned Sparrows are quite low (4 vs 16) and we have yet to catch a Fox Sparrow. Cedar Waxwings, which have become one of our “bread and butter” Fall species, are lagging (158 vs 230) despite a good berry/grape crop. And so it goes….. But what has happened to Northern Saw-whet Owls!? So far we’ve banded only 6 (as opposed to the 81 we did last Fall). We’re looking into it – most stations have reported lower numbers of this irruptive species.

October 28th; Banded 66:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
5 Hermit thrushes
2 Cedar Waxwings
4 Song Sparrows

Young Swamp Sparrow. The yellow in the lores and (hard to see) on the upper breast can be confusing. -DOL

2 Swamp Sparrows
8 White-throated Sparrows
4 Dark-eyed Juncos
39 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 33 spp.

October 29th; Banded 76:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Hermit Thrushes

An American Robin with something very ugly going on with its feet. This is the 6th robin in the last 10 days or so that have had foot anomalies. Does anyone have any idea what this might be? Or how to treat it? -DOL

1 American Robin
9 Song Sparrows
5 White-throated Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
9 Dark-eyed Juncos
43 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 36 spp.

October 30th; Banded 27:
1 Brown Creeper
6 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robin
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Song Sparrow
7 Dark-eyed Juncos
10 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 33 spp.

Sophia with her first banded bird: the first American Tree Sparrow of the season at Oakville. -DOL

October 28th; Fern Hill Oakville:
We had a full day – banding passerines during the day and trying for owls in the evening. It’s amazing to me that we’re catching sooo many goldfinches at Ruthven but I saw only 3 at the school!? And the 2 White-throated Sparrows were the first I’ve seen at Fern Hill this Fall while at Ruthven we’ve banded well over 300. But we do have one thing in common: NO Northern Saw-whet Owls. We made 3 rounds…..3 futile rounds with nothing to show for them.

Ceileigh releasing a White-throated Sparrow. Even her magic hat couldn’t produce Saw-whets that same night. -RW

Banded 13:
1 Blue Jay
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
2 Northern Cardinals
1 American Tree Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
3 House Finches
1 House Sparrow

This Red Fox caught a mouse just after this picture was taken. The mice are hanging out around the base of the bird feeders taking advantage of any spillage. -RW

ET’s: 23 spp.

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