September 26th – Charming Goldfinches

Joanne with mother-in-law Marg, who rode to Ruthven from Ancaster.

So what do you call a flock of American Goldfinches. Well, if you were to ask Joanne Fleet, who is a fount of esoteric knowledge, then you would learn that, correctly, it is called a “charm”….a “charm of goldfinches”. Very apt really when you think of a group of these golden gems festooned on the feeders grabbing seed or in the bushes after dogwood berries. Today these charming little birds were everywhere and, consequently, we had by far our biggest banding day of the year: 204 (104 of which were American Goldfinches). We were very busy from the very first net round right up until we closed the final net at around 2:00. We just couldn’t figure where all these goldfinches were coming from or where they went after feeding (and/or getting banded). We had a great system of extractors, “runners” and banders on the go (thanks to Peter Scholtens and family – as well as Matt, Joanne, and Nancy) so we processed all of them quite efficiently….and we were pretty tired by the end.

Different coloured Cedar Waxwing tails.

Two colours in the tips of this Cedar Waxwing.

But it wasn’t just goldfinches. We banded 34 species – the highest species count of the Fall. Birds were on the move today. Everywhere you looked and whenever you looked you could see activity – in the trees, high overhead, along the edges, in the fields…everywhere. I think the weather conditions during the night brought a large flight to earth and we were the beneficiaries.

Matt, who is speaking at the bird festival on Saturday, holds two Red-breasted Nuthatches.

Banded: 204:
7 Mourning Doves
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Yellow-shafted Flicker
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Blue Jay
3 Red-breasted Nuthatches
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Eastern Bluebird
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
2 Swainson’s Thrushes
2 Hermit Thrushes
5 American Robins
1 Gray Catbird
21 Cedar Waxwings
1 Red-eyed Vireo
2 Tennessee Warblers
4 Nashville Warblers
3 Magnolia Warblers
1 Cape May Warbler
8 Myrtle Warblers
7 Blackpoll Warblers
1 Ovenbird
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Scarlet Tanagers
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
10 Chipping Sparrows
2 Field Sparrows
1 Song Sparrow
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
2 Purple Finches
1 House Finch
104 American Goldfinches

Male (left) and female Red-breasted Nuthatches

Retrapped 45:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Eastern Bluebird
3 Gray Catbirds
1 Cedar Waxwing
1 Magnolia Warbler
1 Myrtle Warbler
6 Blackpoll Warblers
1 Wilson’s Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
5 Chipping Sparrows
3 Field Sparrows
3 Song Sparrows
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
1 Purple Finch
1 House Finch
11 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 55 spp.
Fall Banding Total: 1,461
Year-to-date Banding Total: 4,046

Photo Gallery (thanks to Caleb Scholtens):

Gray-cheeked Thrush -C. Scholtens

Wooly Bear -C. Scholtens

Red-bellied Woodpecker in the net. -C. Scholtens

Lincoln's Sparrow -C. Scholtens

Hermit Thrush -C. Scholtens

Young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak -C. Scholtens

Male Nashville Warbler -C. Scholtens

Very bland Cape May Warbler. -C. Scholtens

Wing detail of a young Blue Jay -C. Scholtens

The elusive Olive-sided Flycatcher -C. Scholtens

Home-sewn doll displayed by Hannah Scholtens


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