September 24th – McMaster Visits.

The brightest and the best of McMaster's 2nd year Ecology class.

I can’t clearly recall when McMaster’s Biodiversity Program began visiting the banding program at Ruthven. Was it 2003? or 2004? It all came about when PhD student, Marylene Boulet contacted me to see if she could come out and learn the skills she would need to do her doctoral work on Yellow Warblers. She so enjoyed the place and the experience that she recommended it to Dr. Pat Chow-Fraser who brought the first classes out. It’s become an annual tradition ever since then although the Biodiversity Program doesn’t currently exist but has been taken over somewhat by 2nd year Ecology. I was a little concerned when I learned that the Biodiversity course was folding but Lyndsay Smith, who teaches in the Ecology program (and was on of the early students who took part ifn the Ruthven excursions), felt that this was an activity worth saving. Good thinking! We’ve had a number of really good students that have come out of the collaboration to go on to interesting careers in biology. Right off the top Teegan Docherty and Christine Madliger come to mind. But there’s been a good numbers of others who have used Ruthven as a base to do their undergrad projects/theses.

Lyndsay Smith (far left) and Nancy (middle) walk students through the banding and scribing process.

So it was a pleasure to host this keen group of students this morning. The pace of catching birds continued to be “leisurely” today so we were able to have the students do almost all of the banding and scribing (and identifying – always fun). I must say though that I kind of miss the old days when the students would arrive Friday night, sleep over in the Coach House on the floor, and be up at the crack of dawn to open the nets. (Interestingly, it was a good test of what kids would move on successfully in research – it was always the kids that managed to get up early.)

Faye (second from right) leads students on a net round.

Banded 36:
1 Eastern Tufted Titmouse
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
3 Gray-cheeked thrushes
6 Gray Catbirds
1 Blue-headed Vireo
3 Red-eyed Vireos
5 Nashville Warblers
9 Magnolia Warblers
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 American Redstart
2 Wilson’s Warblers
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 9:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
1 Gray Catbird
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Nashville Warbler
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Chipping Sparrow

ET’s: 41 spp.

Birds banded per 100 net hours: 30

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