October 8th & 9th – Catching Up

A good look at the plumage of the young Black-billed Cuckoo. Note the lack of white in the tail and the light rufous in the wings.

Both days were very much alike: sunny, clear blue skies, and Myrtle Warblers…..in Net 6. The only difference was that, on the 8th, they were caught in the upper net of the pair and on the 9th, they were in the lower net. I can’t get over the temperature – here it is, well into October and we’re getting noontime temperatures of 24-26 degrees. What’s with that!? One very noticeable effect is that the feeders are not being used. There’s no need for the birds to move to them to feed. It’s when the temperatures drop and the conditions deteriorate that the birds go to the “known” food source. And feeding birds attract other birds…..

A very young Black-billed Cuckoo


Black-billed Cuckoo


Ruthven has a heavy wild grape crop this year - fuel for migration and the missed fruit will provide winter food.

Except for the odd Blackpoll Warbler and Gray-cheeked thrush, most of the long-distance migrants have gone. I wonder where they are now. The early leavers are probably already carving out territories in Mexico and Central America but the bulk of these migrants are still in transit – just far to the south of us. The practical result for us is that the variety of species that we are encountering is diminished. We’re getting around 40 species a day now whereas we were getting 50-60 two weeks ago. Still, there are some species we haven’t seen yet that we can expect to show up in the next week: Purple Finch, Fox Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Pine Siskin.

Lukian, Faye, and Danielle sharing a moment.


HY Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warbler

October 8th, Banded 73:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Eastern Tufted Titmice
1 Brown Creeper
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Gray-cheeked Thrushes
3 Hermit Thrushes
3 Cedar Waxwings
1 Magnolia Warber
39 Myrtle Warblers
2 Blackpoll Warblers
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
3 Song Sparrows
4 White-throated Sparrows
3 American Goldfinches

Zakhar releasing on of the many Myrtle Warblers we banded today.


Lukian did a great job scribing.

ET’s: 40 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 57

October 9th, Banded: 56
1 Black-billed Cuckoo
1 Brown Creeper
2 House Wrens
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
4 Hermit Thrushes
4 Cedar Waxwings
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Nashville Warbler
22 Myrtle Warblers
2 Blackpoll Warblers
3 Chipping Sparrows
6 Song Sparrows
8 White-throated Sparrows

ET’s: 43 spp.

The enemy! Cats are the bane of banding stations. This one was caught and relocated to a farm in Jarvis.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 44

Before: Nancy preparing a new net lane for Northern Saw-whet Owls.


After: Net 8S ready to go. Nancy will be starting Monday night.

Northern Saw-whet Owl Banding:
Last week, Nancy spent 3 nights (and days) at Hilliardton Marsh Banding Station just north of New Liskeard. There she had an opportunity not only to learn more about aging these little owls but also to band a bunch (as well as some Boreal Owls and a Long-eared Owl). Today we finished clearing two extra net lanes – 8N and 8S (for North and South) – and set up two larger-mesh nets, specifically for owls. Nancy plans to start Monday night. If you’re interested in coming out and helping you should contact her to see what nights she plans to go out. Note: sometimes she won’t know too far in advance AND banding (at any time) is subject to weather conditions.


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