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.
[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.
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.
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
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