October 29th – (Really) Slowing Down

Adam, Ron, Gillian, and Rhiannon had to wait until after midnight to see the first Northern Saw-whet.

Nancy had a group of hopeful owl banders out last night but evidently most of them had gone home before the skies cleared sometime after midnight and the temperature dropped and…..4 more little owls found their way into the nets. Perseverance pays I guess.

When I arrived this morning it was certainly cold (-5 C.) and all the nets were frosted shut. I baited the traps (so the many already-banded White-crowned Sparrows that have learned to feed in them could have breakfast) and waited until the nets began to thaw. This gave me time to do the census – a treat that usually passes to someone else as the mornings have been so busy. The reduction in bird numbers was striking. Myrtle Warblers have gone and the bulk of the sparrows is well past (although incoming Juncos are just reaching their stride and American Tree Sparrows are just beginning).

Rhiannon, Gillian, and Adam, after a short night, returned to check out daytime banding (and a Junco).

I had an opportunity to watch a mixed-species flock go to work on a patch of wild grapes. European Starlings were the most numerous followed by American Robins and Rusty Blackbirds. The starlings stuck to the trees and vines while the robins and blackbirds divided their time between the vines and the ground. I could never figure out what they were getting on the ground – fallen fruit? I’m not sure. Anyway, they made short work of a sizeable patch. With the leaves off most of the trees the clusters of fruit are now easily seen. It won’t be long now until almost all of it is gone. Hopefully there will be enough missed to provide food for overwintering Eastern Bluebirds. They’re always a treat to see in the Winter.

Banded 31:
1 Mourning Dove
4 Northern Saw-whet Owls (during the night)
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Cedar Waxwing
1 American Tree Sparrow
6 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
9 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 22:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
10 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
6 Dark-eyed Juncos

ET’s: 35 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 35


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