08 October 2016
Cara Poulsen, a student in the environmental studies programme at the University of Waterloo, recently came out to Sprucehaven to help us with tree planting and other chores. She is keen, committed and anxious to learn more about birds, and to add practical knowledge to the theoretical base of her curriculum.
It was a great pleasure, therefore, when I received an email from Cara asking if she could participate in our weekend bird banding.
She was willing to get up early and Miriam and I picked her up at 06:20 this morning on our way to SpruceHaven.
Very quickly, she was put to work, making the circuit of the nets with us, to see first hand how the captured birds are carefully extracted from the mist nets.
Here she is with her first batch of birds, safely ensconced in the bags used to bring them from the nets to the banding station.
In for a penny, in for a pound, as the old saying goes, she settled down to scribe for Kevin, recording all the pertinent details as each bird was measured, weighed and banded.
In no time at all she had the various codes down pat and was working with fluid efficiency.
A couple of weeks ago we trapped a White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis but Kevin had released it before I thought to photograph it. No such absent-mindedness with this individual this morning!
By now Cara was really in the groove and looked entranced with the process of recording the banded birds.
A tiny Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis was a new capture for the year.
In addition to Cara's participation this morning a group of children from our naturalists club offshoot, Waterloo Region Nature Kids, were visiting, and as you can see the children and their parents were very interested in seeing the bird banding take place.
Cara was unfazed by the crowd surrounding her.
Dark-eyed Juncos Junco hyemalis have been arriving from the north over the past week or so, but I had not seen one this fall before capturing this individual in our nets this morning.
The white outer tail feathers, so diagnostic of this species, are clearly visible.
Various interpretive undertakings were carried out for the visiting parents and children, but we neglected to take photographs at various stages of the two hours the children were there, and the following images were all captured at the bird banding station.
Sandy, as ever kind and considerate, had potted seedlings of Red Osier Dogwood Cornus stolonifera, and each child went away proudly bearing their gift of a native species to be planted in their gardens at home.
It was a successful morning of banding, part of which I missed while conducting the children on their tour of SpruceHaven, but here is Kevin closing up the nets after another fruitful session.
All species banded 08 October: Blue Jay (1), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2), Winter Wren (1), Tennessee Warbler (1), Nashville Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (1), Song Sparrow (6), Lincoln's Sparrow (2), Swamp Sparrow (2), White-crowned Sparrow (1), White-throated Sparrow (2), Dark-eyed Junco (1)
Total individuals: 21