October 28th – The Wheel Fell Off.

White-throated Sparrow in the frost. - C. Scholtens

Frosty Net 2.

Last night, when we were busy banding owls in the clear, frosty air, there must have been a huge movement of birds heading south overhead. Yesterday it felt like there were birds everywhere but today……nothing. Consider some of the Estimated Totals between yesterday and today:
Golden-crowned Kinglets: 60 vs 1
American Robins: 400 vs 25
Cedar Waxwings: 300 vs 30
European Starlings: 700 vs 75
Combined Sparrows: 155 vs 102
Red-winged Blackbirds: 1700 vs 80
Even American Goldfinches: 55 vs 10
In comparison, it was very quiet today. And this was reflected in the banding totals (149 vs 34) and the rate of capture (104 birds per 100 net hours vs 33). And not a single Common Loon to be seen.

Ms. Brenyo, teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes School, with a Dark-eyed Junco.

Irene Schmidt, at 91 our keenest bird enthusiast, made the drive down from Cambridge.

[We had a big movement of Golden-crowned Kinglets and American Robins yesterday. Here’s an excerpt of an email from former Ruthven bander Jeff MacLeod from Halifax:
“Interestingly, I had flocks of AMRO and GCKI move through my yard yesterday. Perhaps they were moving all across the eastern half of the continent. A FOSP showed up too–he and the AMROs were cleaning the berry bushes around my house.” Interesting to think about,eh? A movement of these birds across the whole eastern half of the continent!? Just think of the numbers.]

We got off to a late start today due to a heavy frost which coated the nets and (more frustratingly) the poles. But even when we got them up, there wasn’t much to catch. Is this the end or is there another “pulse” still to come? We’ll see.

Note the Baltimore Oriole nest in the tree upper left; Fred Smith's feeder is almost directly below it in front of the building.

This picture tells a neat story: Fred and Betsy Smith live on the “other” side of the river in Cayuga. All Spring and Summer, Fred put out orange halves for the Baltimore Orioles. A female visited regularly and every day but Fred could never find the nest. When the leaves fell a little while ago, he discovered it – in a tree almost directly above the buffet! The birds probably watched him replenish it every day.

5-year old Downy Woodpecker retrapped yesterday. - R. Leshyk

Natalie, Nancy, and Carol moving an owl net.

Dark-eyed Junco with feathering around the eye, creating the suggestion of an "eye-ring".

Banded 48:
14 Northern Saw-whet Owls (from last night)
1 Black-capped Chickadee
5 American Robins
1 Northern Cardinal
4 American Tree Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
17 Dark-eyed Juncos
3 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 15:
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Nashville Warbler
2 Swamp Sparrows
4 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
6 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Finch

ET’s: 42 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 33

Photo Gallery:

American Robin - C. Scholtens

Rusty Blackbird - C. Scholtens

Rusty Blackbirds foraging along a banding trail. - C. Scholtens

Rusty Blackbird. - C. Scholtens

Rusty Blackbirds; female, left and male on the right. - C. Scholtens

White-breasted Nuthatch. - C. Scholtens

Oak leaf and barbed wire in the frost. - C. Scholtens

Frosty nets. - c. Scholtens

Grand River in the early frosty air. - C. Scholtens

The end of the season. - C. Scholtens

Eastern Bluebird in the top of a spruce. - C. Scholtens

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