May 29th-31st – The End

A full moon greeted our last days of the season. -S. Merritt


The migration, which seemed to take forever to get started, tailed off quickly at the end and we’ve been hard put to get enough birds to reach the 1800 plateau. (Why that makes a difference I don’t know…..just nice to have something to aim for, I guess.)

Fred Smith, who lives just across the river and downstream about a kilometer, has been seeing this Red-headed Woodpecker around his place – a real rarity these days. -FJS


Here’s the way it played out at Ruthven:

May 29th: Banded 19:
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 Wood Thrush
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
2 Cedar Waxwings
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
6 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 51 spp.

May 30th; Banded 11:
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 House Wren

Male Eastern Bluebird keeping an eye on his nest box. -KMP


1 Eastern Bluebird
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
2 Cedar Waxwings
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Yellow Warbler

Valerie banding a Blackpoll Warbler. -RB


1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Song Sparrow

The Blackpoll ready to go. -RB


ET’s: 65 spp.

May 31st; Banded 15:

Female Tree Swallow – the 1800th (and last) bird banded this Spring. -KMP


1 Tree Swallow
5 Eastern Bluebirds
2 Gray Catbirds
2 Yellow Warblers
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Field Sparrow
2 Red-winged Blackbirds
1 American Goldfinch

ET’s: 60 spp.

In Summary:
In April and May, in our standard operation, we banded 1,800 birds of 88 species.

Top Ten:
1. American Goldfinch – 422
2. Yellow Warbler – 112
3. Brown-headed Cowbird – 94
4. Song Sparrow – 82
5. Gray Catbird – 80
6. Baltimore Oriole – 51
6. White-throated Sparrow – 51
6. Cedar Waxwing – 51
9. Common Yellowthroat – 44
10. Red-winged Blackbird – 38
Rick

Karen’s Entymology Corner:

Click Beetles have been finding their way into the nets. -KMP


Red-spotted Purple Butterfly. -KMP

And at Fern Hill School:

We had a couple of scorchers at Fern Hill – Burlington! It is crazy to think that about a month ago we had our only snow day of the year in April…and this week the temperatures felt unbearable at times in the mid-thirties. We closed our nets early to avoid putting stress on the birds which reduced our catch but made for a nice slow pace for our younger learners.

May 28th; banded a total of 13 birds:
2 GRCA
2 CEDW
1 CHSP
2 SOSP
6 AMGO

We had an ET of 44 species throughout the day and on census. Our seasonal firsts were a Northern Parula, Black & White Warbler, Alder Flycatcher observed throughout the day.

May 29th; 5 birds banded:
3 GRCA
2 AMGO

Janice (Chard) observed an ET of 39 species but most birds seemed to be laying low in the heat/because of nesting season. At one point we saw a large flock of 14 AMCRs wheeling and calling above the schoolyard for some time, drawing out the hidden Baltimore Orioles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Tree Swallows who got caught up in the commotion. There is a definite feel in the air that migration is slowing down as the nesting season kicks into high gear.
Kathryn

Fern Hill – Oakville:

May 30th: The heat referred to above continued and banding was slow. Interestingly I saw a Common Loon flying over but headed West!
Banded 7:
1 Black-billed Cuckoo
1 American Robin
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Song Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Baltimore Oriole
1 House Finch

ET’s: 35 spp.

May 31st; Banded 24:
2 Mourning Doves
1 Tree Swallow (female form a nest box sitting on 5 eggs)
1 American Robin
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Yellow Warbler
1 American Redstart (ASY-M)
2 Song Sparrows
1 Red-winged Blackbird
1 Common Grackle
1 Brown-headed Cowbird
1 Baltimore Oriole
1 House Finch
9 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 38 spp:

In Summary for Fern Hill – Oakville:

In April and May, banded 361 birds of 49 spp.

Top Five:
1. Red-winged Blackbird – 72
2. American Goldfinches – 43
3. Common Grackle – 34
4. American Robin – 24
5. Song Sparrow – 23

Rick

May 29th – Almost Done

“Down here” in far southern Canada the migration is almost done – it’s kind of sad in a way but, in truth, I’m ready for a rest. And just as I was thinking about the end my compatriot Jeff MacLeod sends me this email:

Take a look at this incredible ebird checklist:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46116491

Jeff

This is the kind of day that would knock your socks off and is a reminder that, while we are wrapping up here, the migration is still in full swing to the north of us. The above movement was at Tadoussac which is at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. Many years ago in early June, after kayaking the fjord, I spent an afternoon on the sand dunes looking out over the river. I was amazed at the massive diurnal migration that was taking place – all warblers from what I could see. It was a clear sunny day and the wind was slightly in front of them. They came in moderately low and as soon as they reached the shrubs/woods dived down into them. Pretty chancy flying over such a large expanse of water in the daytime. Usually small migrants fly at night so I was interested in the possible reasons that would drive them on through the day and with a head wind. The urgency to get to where they had to get to was all I could come up with.

I wonder if the birds in the above sighting were held up by the recent inclement weather in the mid-eastern States and were trying to make up time with a supporting wind…..

Banded 19:
1 Eastern Wood Pewee
1Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
1 Traill’s Flycatcher
1 Wood Thrush
1 American Robin
1 Gray Catbird
2 Cedar Waxings
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
6 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 51 spp.
Rick

May 28th – Winter Into Summer

This young male Baltimore Oriole is #51 – a record breaker. The highest Spring banding total for this species was 50, set last year. -KMP


It seems that we’ve jumped from Winter into Summer without much Spring in-between. On my drive over to Ruthven the moon hung ominously over the western horizon, a red ball (probably due to water vapour in the air). It was 18 degrees while opening and quickly climbed into the mid-20’s early in the morning, with no wind or clouds. Conditions like these can be dangerous for birds caught in the nets. So, for the second day in a row, we closed an hour early before temperatures reached their peak. And also for the second day in a row, we weren’t seeing any migrants that looked like they were still moving on (i.e., none were carrying any fat).

Sign of the season: female Rose-breasted Grosbeak carrying nesting material. She will soon be on eggs. -RF


Although banding totals for many species are below average, We continue to catch Baltimore Orioles and Cedar Waxwings at a record rate. We got our 50th and 51st oriole today breaking the old record of 50 set just last year and we went ahead with Cedar Waxwings as well; today we banded 7 bringing our total to 47, 2 ahead of the old record set in 2011.

(Banded) male Common Yellowthroat; heard, and sometimes seen, all around the site. -RF


Banded 22:
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
2 Eastern Wood Pewees
2 Gray Catbirds
7 Cedar Waxwings
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Baltimore Orioles
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 53 spp.

May 27th – A Slow Day

An exciting returnee: this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird was banded on August 24, 2017 by Alessandra Wilcox (under Nancy’s tutelage) and was recovered today in Net 1 right beside the lab.


When the first net round of the day – the one that is usually the most exciting – yields only 1 bird you know that you are in for a slow day. And we were. There didn’t seem to be any migrants – just birds that were likely to breed locally. The next 4 days might bring a few more latecomers but the main movement is done.

Josh Robertson demonstrating some of his equipment for the Young Women in Science group. -N. Campbell


Josh Robertson explaining his research to some future scientists. -N. Campbell


Banded 13:
2 Yellow-bellied Flycatchers

A late migrant: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. -MMG


1 Traill’s flycatcher
1 Gray Catbird
3 Cedar Waxwings
1 Blue-winged Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 Red-winged Blackbird

ET’s: 57 spp.
Photos:

Inspired by the visiting group of Young Women in Science, our own resident women scientists conducted an experiment of their own – finding the optimum scoop size of hummus per chip. I think the jury is still out on this one…..funding for more study is urgently needed. -DOL


This male Eastern Bluebird has been quite successful in holding onto this nest box despite harassment by Tree Swallows. The bluebird pair has 5 young. -KMP


The two young robins from the gazebo nest that we banded are continuing to do well, despite the big wedding reception last night. -KMP


ASY male Orchard Oriole. -KMP


Male bluebird in a sycamore. -KMP


Rick