Monday, 15 May 2017

Bird Banding at SpruceHaven

13 and 14 May 2017

     Due to a prior commitment to lead a walk for the Bridgeport Neighbourhood Association at Bechtel Park I was unable to make it out to the mist nets on Saturday, but Kevin, Heather and Daina were there to handle everything so all went off as planned. In fact they had a great day with a variety of species reflecting the diversity of spring migration.
     I have been trying to photograph every species that we trap in our nets so Daina remembered to photograph some of the recoveries on Saturday.


Mourning Dove

Palm Warbler ("Western" race)

As above

Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)

All species banded 13 May:  Mourning Dove (1), Northern Flicker (2), Black-capped Chickadee (3), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1), Grey Catbird (1), Veery (1), American Robin (2), American Goldfinch (1), Ovenbird (2), Common Yellowthroat (1), Palm Warbler (2), Baltimore Oriole (2), Brown-headed Cowbird (1), Red-winged Blackbird (6), Common Grackle (4), Song Sparrow (4).
      We all assembled a little before 06:00h on Sunday morning and were delighted to be joined by Daina's young sister, Nicole, who got out of bed early in order to visit our mist nets at SpruceHaven. Kudos to Daina for bringing her and to Nicole for coming.

Kevin, Nicole, Daina, Heather

    One of our first capture was a Wilson's Warbler Cardellina pusilla, shown here with its band securely attached.

     Nicole did the round of the nets with us each time and we asked her if she would like to record one of the birds. Under careful directions from her big sister, Daina, she made her entry into the records.

          And looked pretty satisfied with herself when it was all done!

     An adult White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys  was captured, probably right around the end of this species' spring migration through southern Ontario.

     Daina took over the scribing duties for a while.

     Unlike Saturday we did not trap many birds, but a new species for the year was a Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii.

     It had been very satisfying on Saturday to capture two Ovenbirds Seiurus aurocapilla and we were happy to net another one on Sunday.

     As I post these pictures I am starting to wonder how many times Kevin's hands have appeared on the internet!
     This Common Grackle Quisculus quiscula let Kevin know it was not happy until he released it.

     The iridescence on this species imparts a beautiful quality to its plumage and when seen strutting in sunlight it is magical to watch the constant change of hues.
     Grey Catbird Dumatella carolinensis is quite common from spring through fall and no doubt breeds at SpruceHaven. We just haven't located the nest.

     Perhaps Kevin and Heather were checking the finer points of identification or aging as it relates to Grey Catbirds; in any event they were engrossed over some detail or other.

     Our final bird of the day was a Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris, a non native species which is a problem bird,  as it aggressively drives out native cavity-nesting species from suitable nest sites. It is implicated in the serious decline of some of these species.

     In keeping with its feisty nature it screamed at Kevin the whole time it was in his hand.
     We might have hoped for a little more active morning so that Nicole could have seen a wider range of species, but we had to close the nets early as the wind picked up substantially. Perhaps she will come out again.

All species 14 May: Grey Catbird (1), Common Starling (1), American Robin (1), Ovenbird (1), Wilson's Warbler (1), Song Sparrow (1), Lincoln's Sparrow (1), White-crowned Sparrow (1).


  1. Love the two little warblers they are both so pretty, The Northern Flicker also looks and interesting bird.
    I will be away for a few days and will catch up on my return Diane

  2. Que gran cantidad de especies capturadas, a ver si alguna cruza el océano y podemos identificar alguna de vuestras anillas por aquí. Gran trabajo amigo mío. Un fuerte abrazo desde Cantabria.

  3. Amazing birds. Your photos is awesome.

  4. Beautiful photos of different types of birds. What you all are doing is so interesting.

  5. Hi David.

    Beautiful to see all these beautiful birds.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  6. Good to see you had another rewarding weekend at SpruceHaven, David, even if you couldn't make it on the Saturday. The Palm Warbler looks gorgeous!

    Sorry about the Starlings- but we don't want them back, thank you! They're a big enough nuisance here as it is. Mind you, theye are spectacular when they murmurate. Do they murmurate in Canada?

    Love to you both - - Richard

  7. A good selection there David. Shame you missed out on the actual ringing but you seem to have found a good photographer for your expanding team. I have three interesting recoveries which I'll post soon - Siskin, Goldfinch and Lesser Redpoll.

    1. Heather and Daina have proven to be a great addition to our team and they are terrific to work with too. We are lucky to have them, Phil.

  8. Wonderful photos! Their little legs are so delicate.

  9. Hi David and an interesting post with some fascinating birds we are never likely to see, also wonderful to have your friends to take images for you. Favourites have to be the Northern Flicker and Wilson's Warbler. All the best to you both. John

  10. What an amazing weekend,stunning collection of my favourite birds,and all in one place,can't better that.

  11. Beautiful birds.. Well-done.. :-)))