October 6th – A Passing Train

Nancy dealing with arboreal malevolence.

We had had a passably good day – up around 75 birds banded – and we were working, working hard, at deleafing the nets in order to close them. What an aggravating task! Nancy had just taken a small “hit” of birds out of #6 and I was taking a couple of birds and a lot of leaves out of #6A, when we heard it: the sound of an oncoming train. Suddenly a flock of at least 2,000 European Starlings flew into the dogwoods all around us. What a rush! What a roar! They were hitting the nets and bouncing out and they were everywhere. The shrubs were covered. If we hadn’t moved and scared them back into the air they would have stripped the dogwoods of every berry they possessed within seconds. What a life: hordes descending on every patch of food they can find, trying to be the first to grab a bellyfull before it’s all gone and they have to move on to the next patch. What are the chances of one individual in that mass getting even one berry? And when they move on, how much is left for all the other species?

European Starling - the true love bird.

Starlings are neat birds. And I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed this before but, in their basic plumage, they are covered with little hearts. Maybe they should be known as “love birds”. They’re not very romantic in the hand though…grasping, squawking, smelly little suckers.

Dorothy Smith's Butter Tarts - simply the BEST butter tarts in the whole world. Period.

Given the wide range of excellent baked goods that come my way at the banding lab, I’ve been giving serious thought to starting up my own personal marquis brand. I would market them as “Bander’s Choice”. Although all the goodies that come my way are great, there are a few that are a cut above; e.g., Elaine’s orange muffins, Carol’s “to die for” oatmeal cookies, Christine’s home-made fruity granola, Joanne’s (no, I guess it would be Jeff’s) tuna deluxe sandwiches, Annes’s kuchens. Fabulous! But the flag-bearer of my new brand would have to be Dorothy’s Butter Tarts. They are simply the best there are. She brought in a dozen this morning for Thanksgiving (and I was giving it I can assure you!) and you could just feel the love – in those $15’s worth of pecans. So what do you think? Bander’s Choice. Has a nice ring don’t you think? And the slogan for this brand would have to be: For those that want to indulge.

Dorothy double-checking that daughter Diane is getting it right. (She was!)

Last night’s rain and the cold temperatures it brought in certainly had the Yellow-rumped Warblers (Myrtles) on the move. We banded 45 but this was just a small portion of the 150 I conservatively estimated went through the site today. If it hadn’t been so windy (which necessitated that we close some nets prematurely) we would have banded considerably more.

Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Male Red-belled Woodpecker - 1 of 2 banded today.

Nashville Warbler - some are still moving through.

Male Golden-crowned Kinglet with funky hairdo.

Banded 131:
1 Mourning Dove
2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers
2 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers
3 Blue Jays
1 Black-capped Chickadee
7 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
1 Swainson’s Thrush
1 Hermit Thrush
12 Cedar Waxwings
21 European Starlings
45 Myrtle Warblers
1 Western Palm Warbler
4 Blackpoll Warblers
2 Chipping Sparrows
2 White-throated Sparrows
2 Purple Finches
22 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 49 spp.
Fall Banding Total: 2,682
Year-to-date Banding Total: 5,267

Photo Gallery:

A waning moon sinks in the west. -C. Scholtens

Blue-headed Vireo with attitude (like most Vireos) -C. Scholtens

A splash of colour.

Caleb with a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker -H. Scholtens

Yellow-rumped Warbler - most banded bird again today. -C. Scholtens

Robin McKay with her first banded bird - a Cedar Waxwing.

Taking flight. -C/ Scholtens

Yellow-rumped Warbler -C. Scholtens

First ever titmouse.

Young Cedar Waxwing -C. Scholtens

Downy Woodpecker -C. Scholtens

Young (HY) Hermit Thrush -C. Scholtens

Hunting Osprey -C. Scholtens



2 thoughts on “October 6th – A Passing Train

  1. Thanks so much for letting me hold the Titmouse (and for posting the photo!). Really enjoyed the banding station — thanks for being such a great host. Looking forward to coming back soon! Your blog is wonderful and has a wealth of information. May I re-post the titmouse photo on my blog? All the best,

  2. Hi Julia:
    Sure, go ahead and use that photo – glad you got so much enjoyment out of the banding program (and the titmouse!).

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