October 29th – Finally

 There's something utterly delightful about these little owls.        -B. Fotheringham

There’s something utterly delightful about these little owls. -B. Fotheringham

The patience of Nancy’s Saw-whet Owl team has been wearing thin as they have been skunked on most nights they’ve been out. But they made up for it last night by catching and banding 6 “new” owls and recapturing an owl that had been banded somewhere else. 7 owls in one night is a pretty good total for Ruthven. Captures were spread out between 10:00 PM and 1:00 AM – definitely not an activity for those that need their beauty sleep….like me.

Last night's very successful Saw-whet Owl team.    -B. Fotheringham

Last night’s very successful Saw-whet Owl team. -B. Fotheringham


Interestingly their capture coincides with a large influx of migrating “winter residents” – birds that breed in northern Ontario but spend their winters in this area. We banded 29 American Tree Sparrows and 55 Dark-eyed Juncos. Juncos seemed to be everywhere (and at least one was caught in almost every net) but they were plentiful along the gravel road leading in from the highway, picking up grit and foraging along the edges. We also had another small “hit” of Cedar Waxwings banding 22 (we have banded almost twice as many waxwings as we did in the record year of 2011 when we did 662…amazing! And there’s still LOTS of grape clusters to be seen. I wonder if this excess of fruit will cause a few short-distance migrants to spend the winter in the area (like Hermit Thrushes).
For comparison: young male Rusty Blackbird (left) and yoiung male Red-wnged Blackbird (right).

For comparison: young male Rusty Blackbird (left) and young male Red-wnged Blackbird (right).


We had light northerly winds throughout the night and I think many birds took advantage of it. In the early morning, just after the nets were opened, I could watch small groupings of American Robins dropping down from a great height into the woods. These were birds that had been migrating but didn’t want to be caught out when the sun came up. One wondrous sight was of a robin, just a speck, crossing the waning moon – I had had my binoculars on another, lower, group of birds and just caught this one by chance. It was very high…and still going, heading southwest.

Banded 149:
1 Mourning Dove
6 Northern Saw-whet Owls
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
8 American Robins
22 Cedar Waxwings
1 Myrtle Warbler
29 American Tree Sparrows
2 Fox Sparrows
5 Song Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
55 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Rusty Blackbird
1 House Finch
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 33 spp.
Photo Gallery:

Getting re-oriented in the juniper.       -B. Fotheringham

Getting re-oriented in the juniper. -B. Fotheringham


Underwing detail of a Northern Saw-whet Owl.      -B. Fotheringham

Underwing detail of a Northern Saw-whet Owl. -B. Fotheringham

Matt adds another bird to his Canada Big Year pursuit.         -B. Fotheringham

Matt adds another bird to his Canada Big Year pursuit. -B. Fotheringham


Rick

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