November 5th & 6th – The Charge Of The Flight Brigade

The price of handling grape-eating waxwings, thrushes, robins and starlings. -NRF

The birds knew that something was up. All morning they were moving around, up in the tree-tops, in big groups watching and waiting. The word was out: after the 4th we needed to band just 94 birds to make 3000 for the season, making it a better than average season; that would work out to 32 birds per day. Usually this sort of parameter puts the jinx on us and we fall short but we were determined we would get there! The birds were determined that we wouldn’t. And to add insult to injury they decided that they’d tease and taunt us by skirting the nets and playing up high. But we knew that the food they wanted – wild grapes – was down at net height. It would come down to a battle of wills. Finally this morning they couldn’t take it any more, the grapes were calling out to them, like muffins to a bander. So they charged with the express intent of knocking down the nets with the force of their onslaught and…..they almost succeeded. Seeing that the nets were old and brittle with UV damage they threw in their heavyweights right at the start – starlings and robins. The nets took a beating but the banders were faster – extracting almost as fast as they hit the nets, purple projectile poop notwithstanding. And in the end the banders prevailed: 50 yesterday, 122 today crushing the 3000 level. The flocks, sensing their defeat, flew off to lick their wounds so to speak…maybe to try another day. Lord knows there’s still lots of grapes.

Ruthven, November 5th:
Every net lane was catching today as the winds were light, causing less billowing of the nets (the last few days have seen strong winds). Lovely weather by mid-morning with sunshine, blue sky and cumulus clouds! It was a busy day processing a total of 81 birds of 23 species. We hope this weather will continue for the next two days before the fall migration monitoring season finishes on November 7th. We are close to a season banding total of 3000 birds!

Banded 50:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Downy Woodpecker

It’s Movember and this male Northern Flicker is proudly showing his ‘stache. The guy holding it will have to wait another 10 years. -JET

1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
2 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

What do you call a group of 6 Eastern Bluebirds? A choir……(I just made that up). -NRF

6 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Hermit Thrush
16 Cedar Waxwing
1 Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler
3 American Tree Sparrow

Fox Sparrow. -NRF

2 Fox Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 White-crowned Sparrow

This junco is also supporting Movember. -NRF

3 Slate-colored Junco
10 American Goldfinch

One of at least 2, maybe 3, Carolina Wrens that have been hanging around Ruthven all Fall. -NRF

ET’s: 37 species

Ruthven; November 6th:
The morning started off rather slowly and there didn’t seem to be much bird activity. We simply weren’t aware of the flocking starlings and robins that were lurking in the treetops, sneaking around the periphery, sizing up the situation and locating their purple plunder. And then they made their move. We knew it was coming – large flocks of birds like this sound almost like a train passing when they take flight. We started heading for the nets and found loads of kamikaze starlings and robins hanging in them while behind us juncos tried a sneak attack. It was touch and go for awhile (actually “ring and fling”) but we prevailed. The total of 122 banded pushes our Fall total to 3,078. Nancy will be trying for 3100 tomorrow – our last day.

Banded 122:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Black-capped Chickadee
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
6 Hermit Thrushes
13 American Robins
1 Northern Mockingbird
7 Cedar Waxwings
52 European Starlings
1 Northern Cardinal
3 American Tree Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow

Rust, the colour of autumn. Hermit Thrush on the left, Fox Sparrow on the right. -DOL

1 Fox Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrows
1 White-crowned Sparrow
16 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 House Finches
9 American Goldfinches

This adult female Nashville Warbler has been hanging around for a week now – even with a large fat load that would provide enough energy to get her to Central America. -NRF

ET’s: 36 spp.

Fern Hill Oakville; November 5th:

One of 3 Mourning Doves caught in traps. -KAP

It was fairly quiet at Fern Hill, surprisingly so. There’s a very different mix of birds there compared to Ruthven. For example, at FHS I counted 26 House Finches and 2 American Goldfinches in the course of the day; at RP there were 60+ golfinches and NO House Finches. At FHS Song Sparrows were relatively common but there were NO White-throated Sparrows; at RP there were 20+ White-throats (double the number of Song Sparrow).

Banded 15:
3 Mourning Doves
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 American Robin
3 Song Sparrows
7 Dark-eyed Juncos

ET’s: 23 spp.

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