October 31st – They’re Baaackkkk!

The BIG surprise for the day - a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Most of them are already in their Winter homes in Central and South America (or well on their way there)!

Not Jack Nicholson but…..American Goldfinches. For the second day in a row they made up the largest percentage of the day’s catch (29 yesterday; 36 today). After worrying about where they all had gone (in September and early October), they seem to have returned in large numbers and are visiting the feeders enthusiastically. The nutrition there will help them put on fat (for those that are travelling on) and will help the adults that are still finishing their complete moults (all the adult birds encountered today were still moulting flight feathers: primaries and secondaries).

This grosbeak, though VERY late, appeared to be in good shape and ready to go.

It’s interesting what nets are catching now as opposed to the week of October 21st to the 27th when we banded over 1,000 birds. At that time all the nets except the nets close to the feeders were catching birds; now it’s the opposite: the feeder nets are catching the majority and the others just odds and ends. One “odd” bird though, that was caught in net 8R down by the River, was a VERY late Rose-breasted Grosbeak. These birds spend the Winter anywhere from southern Mexico down into northern South America. I would imagine that most Rose-breasted Grosbeaks would be on their wintering grounds by now or very close to them. This bird, a young or HY (Hatch Year) female, appeared to be in good shape having a half decent fat load and well-developed breast muscles. If it can get by the remnants of the snow storm south of us in the northern States, it might just make it…..

Within the first hour after sunrise we had another 12 Common Loons go over, all heading due south. I wonder if they will stop at Lake Erie or will keep on going to the mid-Atlantic coast. I can’t help but see them without thinking of a northern lake. So many memories…..

Mr. Welsh, grade 7 teacher at Blessed Kateri in Hamilton, with a
White-crowned Sparrow.

Banded 63:
3 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
1 Eastern Bluebird
2 Hermit Thrushes
1 American Robin
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Fox Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
11 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Purple Finch
3 House Finches
36 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 57:
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woopecker
5 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 Hermit Thrush
2 American Tree Sparrows
3 Chipping Sparrows
9 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows
20 Dark-eyed Juncos
14 American Goldfinches (a couple from the Spring and one from 2009)

ET’s: 42 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 44

When the last bird is processed, the traps flipped and the nets furled, there's still a lot of 'paperwork' to do.


Leave a Reply