October 15th – End Of A Big Pulse

A spread-eagled Rusty Blackbird. -I. Turjansky

Although hindered by a strong SW wind (which caused us to limit the number of nets we opened and to close early as it picked up even more), we still managed to band 54 birds. But you got the feeling that the big pulse of birds that we experienced over the past several days had gone by. In the previous 4 days we banded 704 birds! Not only that but the variety of birds that were simply “around” the site was greatly reduced today. Despite an intensive census and lots of observers, we still managed to pick up only 36 species. But don’t get to thinking the migration is over! There’s another big pulse or two yet to come…..I think.

Ethan trying a Jedi mind trick on this stunning adult male American Goldfinch. Ethan was unsuccessful…..he has a long way to go…. -I. Turjansky

One concern I have though is: what has happened to our American Goldfinches!? In 2012 we banded 440 in September, 623 in October, and an overall total of 1,316. The next year (2013) they ‘crashed’: we got 9, 79, 198 respectively. The population rebuilt over the next couple of years so that in the Fall of 2016 we got 65, 310, 493. And in the Spring of this year we banded an incredible 527! But this Fall we have banded only 3 in September and 18 so far in October. My sense is that they have been decimated by disease. In the Spring we noticed several birds with conjunctivitis and we know that this malady wipes out House Finch populations. As well, there has been some talk of West Nile affecting Ontario birds. At any rate, our goldfinch numbers have crashed again.

Myrtle Warblers have been moving through in good numbers. -I. Turjansky

I get a kick out of the convolutions that bird nomenclature can take (although I find it very frustrating as well). It was such a pain when Myrtle and Audubon’s Warblers got “lumped” as Yellow-rumped Warblers. I have continued to use “Myrtle” in protest (except when doing this blog – I didn’t want any confusion). But now, evidently, I can go back to using “Myrtle” again. Ethan Gosnell assures me that the “species” will be split back to the old names by the end of the year. The lumpers have become splitters…..again.

A very late Magnolia Warbler. -KMP

For Saw-whet Owl aficionados, Nancy is going to try to catch some tomorrow (Monday) night. We think it would be a nice and very useful gesture if participants/spectators made a small donation to the banding program in order to take part – the donation box is easily found……Thanks!

This Song Sparrow was originally banded in 2014! Retrap data indicate that it calls the river flats its home. -MMG

Banded 54:
15 Golden-crowned Kinglets
18 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 Hermit Thrush
3 Myrtle Warblers
2 Chipping Sparrows
1 Field Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow

White morph White-throated Sparrow. -I. Turjansky

3 White-throated Sparrows
8 Dark-eyed Juncos

Retrapped Philadelphia Vireo wondering what ‘this’ is all about. -I. Turjansky

ET’s: 36 spp.

One thought on “October 15th – End Of A Big Pulse

  1. Wonderful update. How would we find out if there wss going to be owl banding on Friday night?

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