Spring 2019

Rick is out at sea counting birds, but sent this update describing Spring 2019. Thanks to all who volunteered, donated, and participated! See some pics from the season below.

After a disastrous April in which we banded only 535 birds – one of our lowest totals ever – we rebounded with our best ever May: we banded 1,385 birds giving us an overall total of 1,920 birds banded (ranking 5th). We also banded 91 species, which is our highest total.
May was truly exceptional. I break the month up into three 10-day periods and average the number of birds banded per day for that period. We exceeded the average in all three periods: 59 per day (vs 42.3) in the first; 46 (vs 44.6) in the 2nd; and 30 (vs 23.8) in the 3rd. (You will recall from previous posts that we were well under the daily average in all 3 periods in April.)

We set new banding records or tied existing ones for 21 species:
(Note: birds in bold are significantly higher compared to the mean going back to 1999)
American Kestrel – 1 (a new Spring species at Ruthven)
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – 14
Traill’s Flycatcher – 30
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 12
Carolina Wren – 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 111
Brown Thrasher – 6
Blue-headed Vireo – 11
Philadelphia Vireo – 5
Red-eyed Vireo – 20
Orange-crowned Warbler – 4
Blackburnian Warbler – 7
Black & White Warbler – 10
Mourning Warbler – 7
Yellow-breasted Chat – 1 (only the 2nd banded at Ruthven)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – 85 (previous high was 61)
Lincoln’s Sparrow – 17
Swamp Sparrow – 25
Orchard Oriole – 26 (previous high was 16)
Baltimore Oriole – 117 (previous high was 51!!)

Top Ten:
American Goldfinch – 226
Yellow Warbler – 127
Baltimore Oriole – 117
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 111
5. Gray Catbird – 91
Rose-breasted Grosbeak – 85
White-throated Sparrow – 81
Song Sparrow – 72
Chipping Sparrow – 61
Brown-headed Cowbird – 52

I don’t have the exact figures with me but we had well over 1,000 visitors in April and May. To achieve these banding results and deal with all these visitors we had to have the help of a very skilled and determined group of volunteers – and we did!! Thanks to you all for a very successful season! (Haha….at the end of April I didn’t think I’d be saying that…..)


Nashville Warbler -DW

Male Chestnut-sided Warbler -JWC

Beautiful male Eastern Bluebird. -RF

U. of Windsor students Jason and Madison, showing off a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. (Get used to those smiling faces – they’ll be around for a couple of months.) -NRF

Male Canada Warbler. -MAS

First (male) Wilson’s Warbler of the year. The black cap looks almost like an ill-fitting toupee. -MAS

Long-distance flier: Blackpoll Warbler. -MAS

One of our most beautiful birds: male Blackburnian Warbler. -MAS

A later migrant and one of my favourites – male Mourning Warbler. -MAS

Picnic!! -RF

The Ruthven Ringers Birdathon Team stopped at Ruthven to pick up a couple of species for the birdathon. They got them….and when they left were up to 148!! From left: Ethan Gosnell, Ezra Campanelli, Alessandra Wilcox, Ben Oldfield. Best birds to that point: Red-necked Phalarope. Wow! -DOL

Geezer and Nola with a pair of Baltimore Orioles (female on the left, male on the right). -ELO

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