15 October 2016
Once again we were very happy to welcome dedicated students from the University of Waterloo to witness our bird banding operation and to add to their knowledge about the avian diversity of the area.
From left to right in the above picture are Jason Bell whose field of study is Geography and Environmental Management, Jade Bassler who is immersed in the Environment and Business curriculum, Emily Krampien who is studying International Development and will be putting in time in a third world country next year, and Josh Pickering whose programme encompasses Environment and Resource Studies.
These very fine young people were at SpruceHaven before first light, anxious to participate and contribute in any way they can. They were prepared to work at invasive species removal but Sandy is away in Scotland for a couple of weeks, and without her supervision and direction they were unable to accomplish this task.
I cannot commend these students enough and to say what a pleasure it is to be associated with them. They are our future and we are not turning over a world in good order to them. Miriam and I were delighted to have this contingent over to our house for dinner last evening. What a fine and stimulating time we had. I hope they will come back again soon.
In terms of banding we had a relatively modest day and captured only one new species for this fall's operation. It is an American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea depicted in the pictures below.
One may clearly see the bi-coloured mandible, rusty cap and central breast spot which are the identifying characters of this species.
As we process the birds, it gives us a great opportunity to show the students the various feather tracts and explain their function. They get to observe the birds up close and discussions cover far ranging aspects of the birds - flight, thermoregulation, migration, fat deposition - and much more. Our desire to pass on our knowledge is only surpassed by their desire to acquire it.
This male Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis (Slate-coloured subspecies) clearly shows the white outer tail feathers so diagnostic of this species.
We were fortunate to band both male and female Golden-crowned Kinglets Regulas satrapa. It is safe to say that this species elicited more appreciative sighs than any other, especially from Jade! Perhaps more than the rest of us she identifies with being tiny but tough! The first two picture below show the male, the last one the female.
For all of us who have the pleasure of doing myriad kinds of avian research at SpruceHaven we cannot express our appreciation too much to Dave, Sandy and Jamie for the rare opportunity they afford us to pursue our passion. From the bottom of our hearts THANK YOU!
Total species banded 15 October: Downy Woodpecker (1), Blue Jay (1), Black-capped Chickadee (2), Golden-crowned Kinglet (2), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1), American Goldfinch (5), Nashville Warbler (1), Song Sparrow (5), White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, American Tree Sparrow (1).
Total individuals: 22