Sunday, 16 October 2016

Dedicated University of Waterloo Students at SpruceHaven

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


  1. Nice to see that young people are interested in doing this work.

  2. Love the American Tree Sparrow,lovely head markings,but, the Golden Crowned Kinglet is the Star,just think these young people will get the pleasure of working up close to these wonders.

  3. How nice that the students here to work with David.
    Beautiful pictures of the birds.
    Greetings Tinie

  4. Hi David and Miriam, another interesting read and some rat images, this time another Kinglet, the Golden-crowned is top of the list for me, and again you get the pretty girls. All the best to you both. Regards John

  5. Hello. Great photos you have taken. Thank you for your lovely photos.

  6. This Golden-crowned Kinglets is so beautiful and tiny! And You photos are great!

  7. Oh I love the shots of the female golden crowned kinglet, what lovely birds! Thank you for all of your lovely comments on my last post too. - Tasha

  8. A fine quartet of students David. As you rightly point out, our generation have made rather a mess of our time in charge of the planet.

    I like your description of a kinglet. Equally applies to our Godlcrest as you know. i concur with your thoughts on the 2000 twitchers, lining up to look through a fence for a ten minute session with the bird of their dreams. No wonder we are in a mess!

  9. Beautiful pictures David. Nice to see these youngsters showing their interest in birding.
    Gr Jan W

  10. What great photos and I am glad that students are taking an interest. The Golden-crowned Kinglets are gorgeous. Have a good week Diane

  11. I love your Golden-crowned Kinglets, they are similar to our Goldcrest, beautiful.

  12. I'm full of admiration for the way you engage the youngsters of today in your activities, David. Hopefully they'll manage to halt the continuing degradation of the planet that is occurring at the hand of Man - millions of years of evolution about to be destroyed by a century of greed and selfishness.

    On a more mundane note - who wouldn't sigh at the sight of a Golden-crowned Kinglet?! I'll never cease to be excited by the sight of a the common Goldcrest over here.

  13. Such great birds again and wonderful to look at them so closely. Good to see that these young people show so much interest in nature. They are the future. I am sure you can make them even more enthousiastic for the birds and all other living creatures David. Good job.

  14. A happy and hopeful post ... and I can use all the hopeful I can get about now! I'm neither tiny nor tough, but I love kinglets and it was lovely to see this one up close! And all the birds really.

  15. Such lovely photo's here and so nice to see those young people's smiling faces in your first photo.

    All the best Jan