November 26th – Hitchhickers

Myrtle Warbler 120 miles east of St. John’s.

Doing pelagic seabird counts can be extremely interesting…..or, at times, extremely tedious. One thing is a constant: you never know what you might see and where you might see it. Like the other day. Normally one would start looking for Sperm Whales in deep water, where the shelf drops off from a couple of hundred meters to thousands. They dive deep to find their favoured food – giant squid – which hang out in the extreme depths. But this big old bull was nonchalantly sleeping on the surface within 50 meters of the ship – and in only 200 meters of water. As we slipped by it at 10 knots its only reaction was to continue sleeping with occasional blows to mark its location.

Last Summer, off the coast of Nova Scotia swordfish began to jump, right in front of the vessel, clearing the water by as much as 3 meters. Fantastic! Or what about the 6 Leatherback Turtles off the north coast of Cape Breton!?

And this is especially true of birds. There are certain pelagic species you expect to see at any particular time but then there are the others: Great Skuas or South Polar Skuas, or adult Pomarine Jaegers with their unique tail streamers, Cory’s Shearwaters or Manx Shearwaters. You don’t see a lot of these but when you do it’s pretty special.

But then there’s the ones you definitely do not expect to see well out at sea – birds you associate with hard land. So when you see them, especially when you’re well offshore, you’re really surprised. For the most part these birds don’t want to be out where the ship is and they are probably in trouble. Maybe they have a faulty navigational system; maybe they ran into a storm with strong offshore winds. Whatever the reason they’re usually under duress and the ship is a welcome respite giving them a chance to regroup, rest, maybe even feed a little if there’s some insects around in the ship’s nooks and crannies. Some birds though simply come across the ship in the course of their migration – for example, birds travelling from Greenland to Baffin Island (Snow Buntings and Pipits) may stop to inspect the ship although most just keep on moving, hunkered down in a trough out of the wind.

Here’s a list of land species that I’ve seen on the ship over the course of the past few years:
– the most recent was a Common Snipe flying around the vessel for at least half an hour just 10 days ago and about 120 miles offshore. Occasionally it would land and rest up before taking off again.

Peregrine Falcon: I’ve seen two, both about 90 miles offshore; these birds will often make open water crossings. The ship acts as a feeding platform for the one pictured – with a storm-petrel. Another one used it as a hunting perch. The last time I saw it was when it had flown off in pursuit of a Red Phalarope and then itself was pursued by a Pomarine Jaeger.
Yellow Warbler: I saw a pair about 35 miles offshore from Nova Scotia and a single bird that we caught and tried to save; it was 110 miles out from Cape Chidley at the north end of Labrador! [We were unsuccessful in out attempts to preserve it – we simply ran out of insects.]
Cliff Swallow: two – both seen on separate days in mid-August; one 10 miles off the coast of Nova Scota, the other 20 miles off the SE coast of Labrador.

This Myrtle Warbler checked out all the nooks and crannies for insects.

Myrtle Warbler: we had a lovely male on the ship 120 miles out from St. John’s.
American Pipits and Snow Buntings: We ran into flocks of these birds (some mixed flocks, some monospecies) as we steamed south out of Baffin Bay through the Davis Strait. Small, continuous flights of these birds were seen on September 8th and 9th; they were heading due west – from their breeding grounds in Greenland to Baffin Island and thence down into southern Canada/northern U.S. for the Winter. Several groups checked out the ship and a few even landed for brief periods. [The crossing distance where I saw them was about 500 miles.]
Lapland Longspur: probably mixed in with the pipits and Snow Buntings, this bird was seen on Sept. 8th on the western side (but still well offshore) of Baffin Bay.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher: one was on the ship about 5 miles out from St. John’s.
Red-breasted Nuthatch: several miles off the coast of Sable Island.
Bank Swallow: one seen on August 13th about 130 miles off the SE coast of Labrador.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow: 4 were seen on August 19th about 100 miles off the coast Labrador.
Dark-eyed Junco: one seen about 40 miles off the east coast of southern Baffin Island.

The sight of these slight landbirds far out at sea always amazes me and then gets me wondering: what happened that they’re here now and….will they/did they make it?

November 24th – Raising Junior

Junior waiting to be banded and measured before being returned to the nest.

Thick-billed Murres, like all other seabirds, spend the vast majority of their time at sea. But for about 2 to 2 1/2 months per year they are tied to the land to breed and raise young. Theirs is an interesting strategy.

A tight line of nesting Thick-billed Murres – difficult for a Glaucous Gull to plunder.

Tight grouping offers more protection from predation. Neighbours combine to jab at gulls and jaegers with their sharp bills.

This is not a good nesting situation for this murre (protecting a chick underneath it). It has no neighbours to help ward off marauding gulls.

The “nest” is no more than a bare spot on a rocky ledge most often on high cliffs directly above the sea. They tend to nest in close proximity to each other and for good reason. One of the main predators of their eggs and chicks is the Glaucous Gull. These rapacious birds hover on the wind over the murres looking for any opportunity or opening they can take advantage of to grab an egg or nestling. The murres band together and raise a defensive shield of sharp bills with which they will jab the gull if it gets too close. Usually this works and the gull drifts off looking for other opportunities. But one particular gull was an aggressive killer. Rather than hover and wait, this bird would fly up to the line of murres, grab one by the wing or tail and pull it off the ledge. The hapless murre, not a nimble flyer at the best of times, would have to fly off a good distance, turn, and pick up enough speed to get it back into place. In the meantime, the gull, taking full advantage of the disruption its actions had generated amongst the neighbours and its fine flying capabilities, would dart in and grab whatever was available and then make off. Interestingly, this seemed to be particular to just one gull, not the others – it was highly effective.

Always alert – a Glaucous Gull looks for an opening. Note the murre just below it with its bill raised and ready to jab.

Glaucous Gull looking for a meal being warded off by 3 vigilant murres.

Thick-billed Murres don’t start to breed until they’re 4 years old. Pair bonds seem to be long-standing, especially if the birds are successful. The single teal-coloured egg is sharply conical reducing the roll radius so that it is less likely to roll off the ledge should it be inadvertently bumped – it would roll in a tight circle. After about 30 days the egg hatches.

The eggs are sharply conical to reduce their roll radius – ledge space is sharply limited with little room for error.

The egg is just starting to hatch.

Especially in the first few days, before the chick can thermoregulate independently, they are highly dependent on their parents for protection, both from the elements and from predation.

Only a day or two old and very vulnerable to the elements and predation.

Recently hatched, this chick tries to work its way under the parent for warmth and protection.

The parents take turns staying at the nest to protect the chick and going out to sea to get food. [One parent takes the day shift at the nest and one the night shift…..but I can’t remember which does what.]
The chicks have voracious appetites and wolf down everything that is brought to them – no matter how long it sometimes seemed.

This fish was almost as long as the chick.

….and down it goes. No problem!

Most chicks are hatched with a day or two of each other but not all and at any one time you might see chicks that were as much as a week apart in age.

Two chicks about a eek apart in age.

The 4 birds on the left are all young ones; 3 of them have a more developed plumage and it won’t be long before they’re ready to leave the nest.

Fledging is an interesting process in this species. The young birds don’t wait until they are fully grown to leave the nest – they leave when they are about one quarter to one third the size of the adult. It is incredibly interesting to watch! The young bird begins to walk back and forth on its little patch of ledge uttering a unique call that is a signal to the father (always the parent that accompanies it) that is ready to go. Suddenly it dives off the ledge, wings (that are not fully developed yet and thus not capable of flight) beating like mad. The descent takes the shape of a ‘J’ with the chick, right at the last moment, curving outward to hit the water. All this time the father is right on its tail and lands in the water beside it.

The topmost chick is of a size that suggests it will leave the “nest” shortly.

This is a critical moment in the life of the chick and in the pair bond. If the parent is “smart” it will usher the young bird as quickly as possible away from the cliffs and out to sea, trying to get as much distance between them as it can. Because there are two serious potential threats: the first is Glaucous Gull predation. Quite often a gull will follow them down to the water and try to snatch the young one. But if the parent stays close and moves it quickly out to see the gull won’t likely be successful. The other is other murres!! Now this is one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen and have not been able to figure it out from an evolutionary point of view but….often other adult murres will attack or mob the chick sometimes killing or drowning it. Again, if the parent stays close and fends them off aggressively, all the while moving the chick out to sea, then the chances of its surviving are greatly increased.

Junior has landed successfully and dad is quickly ushering it out to sea and away from the cliffs where the gulls are.

One memorable day we all sat in awe on the clifftops and watched as chick after chick after chick jumped off its perch and, flapping wildly, angled for the sea. Some of these chicks (and families) we’d known from the egg and (yes, I admit it!) we cheered with each successful landing. And exhorted the fathers to get them moving, get going!!! This experience underscored the reason they were so close in age – the sheer volume overwhelmed the predators and gave the young birds a better chance to survive.

But, sadly, they weren’t all happy stories. If a young bird hit a ledge on the way down it would likely survive that impact ok but would not make the water and would end up in the rocks below – easy pickings for waiting Arctic Foxes and gulls. Or they might still make the water but the momentary jog would separate it from its parent. the young bird could then be seen swimming back and forth parallel to the shore, peeping forlornly, but the parent would not recognize it as its own (and I have seen parents swim back within a few feet of their separated offspring and not recognize it). These “orphans” are doomed – just a matter of time before a gull would grab them and swallow them whole.

And, of course, watching other adult murres attacking a young one was hard to take. I just don’t get it….

But the happy stories greatly overshadow the sad ones and another generation of Thick-billed Murres was on its way – to return in 4 years to make it happen for themselves.

November 23rd – Musings On A Bill Stripe

Why do Thick-billed Murres have a white stripe running along their bill?

I have a bit of time on my hands out here on the Newfoundland coast, tied up at the dock awaiting repairs on the vessel before continuing the oceanographic research mission – with me as seabird observer. And I began to muse about the bill stripe running along the upper mandible of the Thick-billed Murre. [Now that’s a strange musing I can hear you thinking….why that!? Why not the meaning of life or American Thanksgiving football scores or the idiocy of the Trump presidency or women…..? I don’t know; it just happened to be this stripe.]

Thick-billed Murres are amazing creatures that I had an opportunity to study for 2 Summers in Svalbard, 500 km north of Norway. They’re a 1-kilogram bundle of muscle that nest in cliff-side colonies and endure some of the toughest conditions on the planet. You don’t see them off the east coast much (or at all) during the Summer as they tend to breed in large colonies in the high Arctic. But when Winter closes in and the ice begins to form they move south and are common off the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts. Studies of Svalbard birds carrying geolocators have shown that some of their birds winter as far south and west as the east coast of Newfoundland.

A Thick-billed Murre with a geolocator fastened to its colour band….and that’s no BS.

But getting back to my question…..why the white stripe. When chicks hatch parents take turns flying to fishing areas and bringing back their catch. You’ve probably seen pictures of Atlantic Puffins that bring fish back to their young – they carry the fish (sometimes 2 or 3 fish) cross-wise in their bills. Thick-billed Murres don’t; they carry a single fish lengthwise with the head in their throat and the tail, if the fish is big enough, protruding beyond the end of their bill. I was wondering if the two were connected; i.e., the white stripe and the fish carried longitudinally.

Thick-billed Murres showing their discriminating bill stripe – a field mark that readily distinguishes them from Common Murres.

In Svalbard (and I would imagine most murre colonies) kleptoparasitism by jaegers (in my colony’s case Parasitic Jaegers) is common. Now provisioning a chick is hard work for a murre. Their wings aren’t really designed for elegant flying, twisting and turning, etc. They’re dual purpose appendages: to fly directly from the water to wherever in direct flight or to fly underwater to catch fish. Once they have caught a fish they have to beat their wings hard and fast to get enough lift to get up to the cliffside to pass it on to their progeny. It’s difficult and energy-consuming work. If they’re pursued and harried by a jaeger to the point that they’re forced to drop the fish, they have to start all over again – the chick doesn’t get fed and the adult uses up extra energy to resupply. And in bad weather conditions this could be deadly.

A perfect example of camouflage: white fish aligned with a white bill stripe.

Now a jaeger has to see that a potential victim is carrying prey. If the bill stripe looks like a fish then it is more difficult for the jaeger to discern that a murre is bringing home a meal. And a bit of hesitation could mean the difference between success and failure, maybe even life and death, for the murres. It’s just a thought….but it makes some sense to me.

Here’s some more examples:

Thick-billed Murre with a fish – they carry it aligned with the direction of their bill stripe.

Murre and fish.

Note the fish in the bill of this adult who is about to feed it to the (banded) chick.

Of course, if the fish is too long and extends well beyond the bill or the fish is not a fish but maybe a… shrimp with extending appendages…then it would be easier for the jaeger to see. [One adult in the Svalbard colony fed only shrimp to its shick – I wonder if there might be some adaptive fallout from that…..]

The length of this fish might be a giveaway to a marauding jaeger.

Shrimp aren’t nearly so well camouflaged – pink with legs sticking out.


November 20th – The Hunt

Dovekies, with a burst of their hysterical “laughter”, explode from their nesting sites in the scree slopes of Svalbard.

The Glaucous Gulls sit on the updraft caused as the wind hits the side of the ship and veers upward. They have been following the vessel all day just “sitting”, waiting. But Dovekies have been few and far between in this stretch, a couple of hundred miles off the east coast of Labrador. But when the conditions are right – i.e., there’s small krill-like organisms close to the surface – then the Dovekies will appear, sometimes in big numbers.

Glaucous Gull – a deadly Arctic predator around seabird colonies and seabirds generally. -L. Jolicouer

After a couple of hours I have come to disregard these large predators hanging just a few meters away on the other side of the bridge glass as I focus on counting other seabirds ahead and to the port side of the vessel. But then….one, then another dives frantically at the billowing sea and, following their trajectory with my binos, I watch a little Dovekie dive beneath the surface and out of the reach of the attacking gulls. For the next hour or so I see this played out time and again: a frantic rush by the gulls and a disappearing Dovekie. Sometimes though the little birds, instead of diving, take to the air. They have a high wing loading so it’s a chore for them to get airborne, slow and labourious. But once up they can fly at quite a speed. The thing to do (if you’re a gull) is get them as they rise from the water and are slow and sluggish. Twice I watched as a Dovekie tried to rise and a gull rushed in behind. But, at the last moment, the little bird, seeing its folly, stopped flapping and just dropped back into the sea and dove. A close call!

Arctic Fox – cute……but deadly predators.

Dovekies breed in the high Arctic. When I was in Svalbard I saw them in their nest sites high up on the scree slopes of the mountains. They nest in rocky crevices or holes deep enough that marauding Arctic Foxes can’t get to them. When the young is hatched the adults take to the sea to gather krill which they store in their gullar sacs to bring back to the hatchling. They are quite vocal and sociable around their nesting colonies but when a Glaucous Gull passes by, even if it’s a long way off or very high, they take to the air en masse. They’re not going to take any chances. An unwary bird often ends up as dinner.

Adult Dovekie with a distended gullar puch or sac. -L. Jolicouer

I watched well over a dozen gull attacks but never saw a successful one. After being foiled the hapless gull would return to its “perch” on top of the updraft beside the ship and wait for the next opportunity. On a couple of occasions though I saw a gull fly off well ahead of the vessel. In one instance one returned with quite a distended crop. Maybe it had been successful (and a Dovekie less so). In all my Fall seabird counting outings I have never seen this before.

November 6th & 7th – The End

An adult Sharp-shinned Hawk tries to figure out the Potter traps. -KMP

It seems like just a short while ago we were getting into gear – 68 days ago. Today was officially the end of our Fall migration monitoring efforts. Sure, birds will continue to move around for the next couple of weeks but the vast majority of migrants have…..migrated. I strongly believe that one is given only so many migrations; another one has gone by. I must admit that the weather played a large part in how it unfolded – the hot weather extending well into the Fall was extremely interesting. It will take a much more scientific brain than mine to sort out the impact. But it seemed that while long-distance migrants were pretty well on cue, medium- to short-distance migrants were somewhat late, perhaps better able to respond to the weather conditions; not driven so much by genetics. Anyway, it will take some time to just take a look at the results.

The heavy rains made taking down some of the nets precarious…..for Karen. -JNJ

November 6th; Ruthven:
We were just moderately busy which allowed ample time to do a census and take down some nets – always sort of a sad thing – the finality of it all…
We banded 20 birds:
4 Mourning Doves
5 American Tree Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Finch
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 28 spp.

November 6th; Fern Hill Burlington’s Fall banding season has officially wound down and it has been another great season to be outdoors with my students learning and building upon our knowledge of bird migration through Southern Ontario. I’m so grateful to be in the position where I to work with the kind, patient, and extremely knowledgeable Janice Chard , who tirelessly has answered so many of my questions, guided me through the set up and tear down process of our mist nets, and can instill empathy and compassion in my curious and excited students. I’m also so lucky to have watched and helped those students as they grow and build their birding skills.

One of the trends I noticed towards the end of the season after the long distant migrants passed through was the return of our winter birds tough enough to spend the winter in Burlington. In the past few weeks we have recaptured chickadees and juncos banded in Field Study’s early years, as far back as 2013. Today brought the return of two of our school’s older birds-a Downy Woodpecker and another Black Capped Chickadee. Both birds were banded in 2015. One of our older Young Ornithologists was excited to learn she had handled the BCCH back in 2015, a nice surprise for her! I was the original bander back in 2015 and it was nice to pause and think back to my first year of teaching and banding at the school, and all that I have learned since that first Fall migration.

Today we banded 15 birds with 3 recaptures
1 American Goldfinch
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 American Tree Sparrow
5 Slate Coloured Juncos
3 House Finches
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Northern Cardinal
1 American Robin
1 Blue Jay

We have one more day of Fall Migration at the Oakville campus tomorrow, can’t wait!

November 7th; Ruthven – The Last Day
Today marked the last day of fall migration monitoring and we banded the
last few birds to end a successful fall season. Once the clouds cleared,
and the sun’s warmth penetrated the coolness of the early morning it was a
lovely fall day. We saw a small flock of Tundra Swans, an immature Bald
Eagle, and a beautiful adult, female Sharp-shinned Hawk today.

Banded 11
1 American Tree Sparrow
2 Fox Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
6 Slate-coloured Junco
1 American Golfinch

ET’s: 28 species

November 7th; Fern Hill Oakville:
The day that Katherine couldn’t wait for turned out to be pretty special. Before taking down some of the nets we had a nice run of Dark-eyed Juncos that were moving along the edges, looking for habitat to settle into for the Winter.
Banded 26:
2 Mourning Doves
1 American Tree Sparrow
22 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 House Sparrow (that was banded and then moved well down the road)

ET’s: 20 spp.

A quick Ruthven Fall Summary:
We banded 2,869 birds in our “standardized” net array and another 260 from the “non-standard” nets – “Bagger birds” – for a Fall total of 3,129 birds. This was made up of 81 species.

Top Ten:
1/ Cedar Waxwing – 499
2/ Myrtle Warbler – 269
3/ American Goldfinch – 222
4/ White-throated Sparrow – 205
5/ Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 196
6/ Golden-crowned Kinglet – 143
7/ Song Sparrow – 123
8/ Dark-eyed Junco – 122
9/ Blackpoll Warbler – 99
10/ Swainson’s Thrush – 88

November 2nd-5th – Drawing To A Close

A sure sign that the season is drawing to a close – Faye and Dave taking down the nets and bringing in the sound system. -NRF

It’s been a busy, hectic few days with lots going on, interspersed with bouts of bad weather (today, for example, being a washout). On the 2nd Fern Hill Oakville’s Grade 2’s visited the Ruthven banding program (and house tour). We were fortunate in having lots of birds to keep everyone happy, handling 67 (37 banded, 30 retraps). In contrast, the 3rd was really slow at Ruthven (we banded only 8!) but, interestingly, busy at Fern Hill in Burlington – they banded 21 including a rare (for this area and time of year) White-eyed Vireo. That night we had an open-to-the-public owling session and pulled in 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls and retrapped an Eastern Screech Owl that we had banded about 2 weeks before. The 4th was busy again – it’s a topsy turvy time of year for bird movement – and we banded another 59. And, as I mentioned, today, the 5th, was a write-off. So as it stands now we have banded 2,838 birds this Fall in our “standard” banding operation and another 260 in our “non-standard” operations for a total of 3,098 birds!

We started to take down nets on the 4th and will continue to do so over the next couple of days. Banding officially ends on the 7th.

November 2nd; Ruthven; Banded 37:
1 Mourning Dove
1 Brown Creeper
9 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
5 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Hermit Thrush
6 American Tree Sparrows

Fox Sparrow. -KAP

1 Fox Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco. -KAP

3 Dark-eyed Juncos
8 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 28 spp.

November 3rd;
Ruthven; Banded 8:

5 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Tree Sparrow
1 Fox Sparrow
1 Dark-eyed Junco

ET’s: 29 spp.

What a treat!! A White-eyed Vireo banded Friday at Fern Hill, Burlington. -JJC

Fern Hill Burlington; Banded 23:
Migration monitoring is winding down here at Fern Hill Burlington, but on Friday Janice and I were surprised with a few gems!
Early in the day a small group of grade seven and eight boys were helping with milkweed planting when Janice called us over to check out the gorgeous (and first ever!) White Eyed Vireo caught at our school!
We also recaptured a beautiful female Slate Coloured Junco-first banded in 2013! It is so valuable to recapture birds so we can study their movements and migration habits, aging process, and understand how important it is to conserve bird habitats. Just imagine the natural and man made challenges she goes through-and survives-each year on her long travels.
We banded 23:
9 American Goldfinch
10 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 American Tree Sparrows
1 Fox Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Dark-eyed Junco

Gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl. -AAW

Ruthven Owling:
The temperature dropped as did the wind and we were confidently hopeful that the owls wouldn’t let us down. On the first round we got 4 owls all in the same net: 3 Northern Saw-whet Owls and an Eastern Screech Owl. Although it seems innocuous, the screech owl was quite likely there to predate a saw-whet…When the night was over we added another 2 saw-whets to the total. As a great finish to the owl season, Bob And Irene treated us to a buffet of home-made baked goods and coffee. It was a great night (thanks Irene!!!).
Owling pics:

Samuel with “his” (really Sian’s) screech owl. -AAW

One of 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded Friday night. -AAW

Eastern Screech Owl. -BF

The “Owl Lady” – Nancy with a Saw-whet. -BF

So soft to the touch. -BF

Sian (original bander) and Samuel (screech owl bander wannabe) with a recaptured Eastern Screech Owl. -SEF

It’s rare that we get so many Old Bag(ger)s together at one time.

James models the “new look” that the Young Baggers have chosen to adopt for the coming field season.

The screech owl readjusting to the night. -MMG

Jordan with his first Saw-whet. -NRF

Sian (original bander) and Samuel (screech owl bander wannabe) with a recaptured Eastern Screech Owl. -SEF

Polina with her Saw-whet. -SEF

Wing of an older Saw-whet; note the darker (i.e., newer) outer primary feathers. -SEF

Underwing pattern of fluorescence of an older Saw-whet owl. -SEF

November 4th; Ruthven:
We had a major influx of American Goldfinches, banding 37 and recapturing 15 previously banded birds, some of them several years old. My hunch is that these older, more experienced birds lead the young hordes to the food sources that have been quite dependable at Ruthven over the years.

Jordan, an up and coming bander from the Wheatley area. -NRF

Banded 59:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
3 American Robins

Almost a rarity….now: Cedar Waxings. -F. Smith

1 Cedar Waxwing
6 American Tree Sparrow
2 White-throated Sparrows
9 Dark-eyed Juncos
37 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 33 spp.

November 1st – The Return of the AMGO’s

Nancy with 2 Northern Saw-whet Owls that were banded last night. -JF

AMGO is the A.O.U. short form for AMerican GOldfinch. We hadn’t been catching many and I was concerned but…they have returned in the last few days….with a vengeance. Today we couldn’t keep them out of the hanging trap and ended up banding 33 of them and processing another 14 retraps – some of them older birds.

Peyton, a student with a visiting school, indicated a great interest in birds and banding, so…..he got to band his first bird: American Goldfinch. -KMP

On the whole it was a very busy day. We had a big group of students from Lake Avenue School and we handled a lot of birds – over 100 between banding and recaptures.

And last night Nancy lead an owling expedition. They didn’t get any in the first couple of net checks but turned up two later in the evening – if you were patient (and could afford the time) you got to see them. [Note: the next attempt to band owls will be Friday night if it’s not raining.]

Banded 72:
2 Mourning Doves

A rather late Eastern Phoebe. -KMP

1 Eastern Phoebe
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Eastern Bluebirds
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Myrtle Warbler
4 American Tree Sparrows
1 Fox Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
3 White-throated Sparrows
11 Dark-eyed Juncos
6 Red-winged Blackbirds
33 American Goldfinches

Bright male Northern Cardinal. -KMP

ET’s: 35 spp.