April 7th & 8th – Cold NE Winds

A wonderful drawing of a Black-capped Chickadee by budding artist Alesandra Wilcox.

A wonderful drawing of a Black-capped Chickadee by budding artist Alessandra Wilcox.

Spring seems to have been knocked backwards somewhat. Cold NE winds have pretty well stopped the migration and birds are just putting in time trying to at least maintain fat loads so that when the weather does improve they can be on their way again.

The rain last night and early this morning, followed by a sleet downpour in the late morning, must have been especially tough on them. When doing the census this morning I counted over 60 Tree Swallows by the river. Many were flying low scouring the surface for an emerging insect but some just sat in the bushes on the east bank (the sheltered bank), not even bothering to take flight when I approached – saving energy. These conditions have to be very difficult for these hardy insectivores.

There was a “dry” gap in mid-morning – between the rain and the sleet. We took full advantage of this lull to open a couple of nets and set the traps in order to catch some birds for teaching purposes: we had the first school group of the season today. Fortunately we got 30 birds (19 banded, 11 retraps), enough to give the students a good look at the various early migrants that are around and to do our bit in the war against Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). As soon as they left, we closed up and as soon as we closed up, the sleet came down with a vengeance.

April 7th; Banded 32:
1 Mourning Dove
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
12 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robin
3 European Starlings
1 American Tree Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
3 Brown-headed Cowbirds
2 American Goldfinches
1 House Sparrow

Species Count: 45 spp.

April 8th; Banded 19:
1 Mourning Dove
9 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robin
1 American Tree Sparrow
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
2 House Finches
1 American Goldfinch
1 House Sparrow

Species Count: 36 spp.

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