September 19th – A Silver Lining….In Reverse? (Sort Of…)

Marnie with a lifer…..that she’s just banded. -KMP

You’ve all heard the old adage: every cloud has a silver lining. Well, there were no clouds today (which means few birds around) but there was a lining: the capture and banding of an American Woodcock! We’re lucky if we catch one a year; this was the year and it provided a very nice banding “tick” for Marnie.

“Our” flock of 7 Wild Turkeys strolling beside the Butterfly Meadow….without, seemingly, a care in the world. -CAJ

And there was another “lining”. The term “habituate” (according to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary) means “make or become accustomed to something”. For 4 summers I helped in a study on Common Eiders on East Bay Island at the north end of Hudson’s Bay. If anyone of us got within 150 m of the colony all the birds would take flight. After that I spent 2 summers on Svalbard working on Thick-billed Murres. However, when I was in town (Longyearbyen) I had to walk around Common Eiders which didn’t care a damn about the presence of people. They were used to them – had habituated. At the end of the nesting season folks would gather the down from their nests for clothing and sleeping bags, etc. It was a lot easier to collect down from local, unfrightened birds than have to hike out into the frozen wilderness for it.This caused me to wonder whether we could get the East Bay Island eiders to relax if we simply walked through the colony every day following the same route. At first they would bolt but if no harm came their way I’ll bet, after a few generations, they too would just sit there. It would make the study of them much easier.

There was always one bird keeping watch. -CAJ

Wild Turkeys are notoriously difficult to hunt because they’re incredibly wary. At the sight of a human they scurry for cover. But at Ruthven, close to the Mansion, there is a flock of 7 Wild Turkeys that wanders about and doesn’t seem to perturbed by human presence. Doing a net round this morning we came upon them strolling beside the Butterfly Meadow. We got within 15 m of them and witnessed NO panic; they just kept doing what they were doing (in this case eating the fruit of Gray Dogwood). They seem to be habituating to our presence. We began to wonder if we could ever get them to the point of eating cracked corn from our hands…..

Banded 26:

American Woodcock. -KMP

Woodcock upper wing. -KMP

Woodcock underwing. -KMP

1 American Woodcock
1 Blue Jay
2 Veerys
2 Gray Catbirds
1 Warbling Vireo
5 Red-eyed Vireos
1 Magnolia Warbler

Rhapsody in blue: Black-throated Blue Warbler, blue Jay. -MMG

1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler. -KMP

1 Ovenbird
2 Common Yellowthroats
7 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Song Sparrow

ET’s: 44 spp.

Karen’s Kreeping Korner:

Katydid…missing its back left leg. (Run-in with a Praying Mantis?) -MMG

Painted Lady. -KMP


Leave a Reply