Sunday, 21 May 2017

Another Banding Operation at SpruceHaven

20 May 2017

     The wind was relatively calm when we arrived before 06:00 but the augury was for the velocity to increase as the morning progressed. The forecast turned out to be accurate and we were compelled to close the nets early. So we did not have an especially auspicious day in terms of numbers and variety of birds; we did, however, enjoy each other's company and benefitted from being together.
     It is rewarding to see how Heather and Daina have become part of our team and have quietly assumed more and more responsibility. Here Heather is set to process a male American Goldfinch Spinus tristis while the maestro Kevin Grundy is content to let these young people become ever more involved.

     Heather is gently blowing on the bird to determine whether there is any deposition of fat. As might be expected on a non-migratory species, there was not.

     Having completed the other measurements she is ready to install the band.

     Her dexterity and confidence grow with each bird she handles.
     Our "bird of the day" was a Mourning Warbler Geothlypis philadelphia, our first ever for SpruceHaven. It is quite incredible how much we have learned of the avian population at SpruceHaven from our banding activities and we did not even start until last fall, and even then only one day each weekend.

     Baltimore Orioles Icterus galbula are pretty common but it is still an amazing sight to see this brilliant bird up close.

     Brown-headed Cowbirds Molothrus ater are ubiquitous at times and it will be informative if we can detect the species which they are parasitizing. 

     We captured this female Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus and I think that Heather's fingers may still be bruised from the experience! It was pretty calm, however, when Kevin held it for a photograph.

     We had expected to be back at it again today, but it has rained quite heavily for most of the morning, so we had to abandon any thoughts of unfurling our nets.
     We will look forward to resuming again next weekend.

All species 20 May: Common Starling (1), American Goldfinch (2), Mourning Warbler (1), Baltimore Oriole (1), Brown-headed Cowbird (1), Red-winged Blackbird (2), Song Sparrow (1), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1).  Total: 10.


  1. At least you managed the Saturday session this time, David! I'm sorry to hear that you too are suffering inclement weather. We seem to get an occasional hour or two of sunshine without wind a few days of the week, but the rest of the days are either wet, very windy, or both. Getting a bit fed up with it now.

    Love to you both - - Richard

  2. Hello, looks like a great banding session. The oriole is beautiful. I also love the female Grosbeak. It has been a chilly and rainy spring here. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

  3. Love your photos that you take while banding as we see the birds so much closer. Hope all is well Diane

  4. Thank you for sharing these sweet birds close up and personal -- I will certainly never get this experience in real life. It's such happy news that young people are learning from you experts and enjoying it ... hope for the world!

  5. Lovely photos and the birds don't look as if they mind :) it's a job that has to be done.

  6. I have much to learn about birds. The birds are very pretty.

  7. Keep up the good work David...........

  8. That is one of the first things you realise when becoming a ringer/bander. The mist nets find a bird much more quickly than anyone with a pair of bins. How much goes "missing" in places that are not subject to bird ringing is anyone's guess.

  9. Hi David,
    It looks like you're all having fun!
    I bet it's not exactly the case for the birds! LOL!!!
    The Baltimore oriole is gorgeous!
    Muchos abrazos to you and Miriam :)))

  10. Seeing birds in the hand is great - most of my banding here has been waders - and that means non-breeding plumage mostly. Sad face!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  11. Keep up the great work David.

  12. Very interesting.
    Your previous post is spectacular. It's difficult to imagine a more beautiful colour than the blue of those Blue Jays.

  13. Some wonderful close-ups here.
    The colourings and markings on the birds is lovely to see.

    All the best Jan

  14. Hello David!:) Lovely birds to see up close, especially the Baltimore Oriole. Unfortunately the banding didn't take place this year at "Rocha". We were hoping to go together this time, but only guided walking excursions were available. It was so disappointing. I enjoyed the experience so much. The handler was also a young girl, who held the birds with gentle dexterity, and removed ticks with a tiny pair of tweezers.