Monday, 14 May 2018

Bird Banding at SpruceHaven, St. Agatha, ON, Episode 2

12/13 May 2018

12 May 2018

    The weather forecast for Saturday was pretty dire, with cool temperature, high winds and rain, so Kevin made the call on Friday that banding was cancelled for Saturday. This triggered a chain reaction leading Marg Paré to cancel the planned visit by Waterloo Region Nature Kids.
     As it turned out the weather was quite decent by mid morning and the event could have gone ahead. Kevin actually went out to SpruceHaven early and managed to open a couple of nets for a brief period, so the day was not a complete wipe out. The rest of us got to sleep in a little later.

All species banded 12 May: Red-winged Blackbird (3), Black-and-white Warbler (1), Magnolia Warbler (1), American Yellow Warbler (1). Total: 4 species, 6 birds.

13 May 2018

     I was up and out of the house in time to get to SpruceHaven by 06h:00; Kevin was already there and was making the rounds to unfurl the nets. Heather and Daina arrived shortly afterwards.
     On our first round of the nets we captured a male American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), our first capture of the year for this species.

    We also retrieved a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), already banded, and in fact before the morning was out we had recaptured three individuals of this species banded at SpruceHaven in previous years as hatch year birds.

Details are as follows.

Band No. 278071727  Originally banded 16 August 2017
Band No. 278071701  Originally banded 15 October 2016
Band No. 278071677  Originally banded 02 October 2016

     It is exciting to recapture these birds and to know that they have remained at SpruceHaven but we are anxious for the day when one of our birds will be recovered elsewhere to yield information about its migratory journey, or to the equally exciting prospect of capturing a bird at SpruceHaven banded elsewhere.
     Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) seemed to be everywhere and were very vocal so it was not surprising that we caught both a male and a female. I thought I had photographed both sexes, but I only have this shot of the male.

     On the way around the nets an American Robin (Turdus migratorius) flew out of a fir tree revealing a nest with three eggs.

     Birds' eggs are surely among the most lovely of nature's jewels.
     House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) are feisty little birds and we know that at least one pair is nesting in the woodlot. Two individuals were retrieved from our nets.

      A Nashville Warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla) was our first of the year.

     Last week we captured a female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) and I mentioned at the time that the banders are careful to keep their fingers out of the way of the crushing beak of this species. Neither Kevin nor Heather were quite vigilant enough with this male which left each of them with a sore spot. In Kevin's case the bird actually drew blood.
     When Heather held the bird for a photograph she was more careful and the bird attacked the band newly installed on its leg.

       After we closed the nets I took Anita Smith, Conservation Director of Waterloo Region Nature, on a tour of the property, but failed to take her picture, unfortunately. In any event, she thoroughly enjoyed getting to know SpruceHaven, and generously committed her husband, Mike, to building six new chickadee nest boxes for us! Thank you, Anita. We will look forward to seeing you often.

All species banded 13 May: House Wren (2), American Robin (1), American Goldfinch (8), Nashville Warbler (1), American Redstart (1), American Yellow Warbler (1), Baltimore Oriole (2), Red-winged Blackbird (3), Song Sparrow (3), Savannah Sparrow (1), Northern Cardinal (1) Total: 11 species, 24 birds.



  1. hello, neat captures and birds. Love the Oriole and Redstart. Enjoy your day and new week ahead!

  2. Wonderful photos, David. The American Robin was beautiful, and the blue eggs was very pretty.

  3. Wonderful captures. In every sense of the word.

  4. Hari OM
    What gorgeous creatures - the oriole is astonishingly handsome. YAM xx

  5. Natures jewels indeed, the vibrant colour of those eggs were a delight.

  6. The colour of the eggs of the American Robin is gorgeous, David. Love to you both - - - Richard

  7. Oh David, those orioles take my breath away and that nest is such a treasure. Lovely photos as always and good work done.

    Thanks so much for coming over to my blog. I always really appreciate your comments and taking the time to do so.

  8. Hi Both,
    Another very successful banding session with some superb birds.
    The Baltimore Oriole is a real beauty and I am always fond of the Northern Cardinal.
    Excellent images David, the American Robins nest and eggs are a real treat to see.
    All the best, John

  9. Hi David ... stunning photos of just beautiful birds and those exquisite eggs ... thank you! Hilary

  10. I love what you do with and for the birds.
    Measuring, weighing, rings and the birds follow their path.
    They are also beautiful birds in this post.
    Kind regards, Helma

  11. Such colourful birds and I love seeing the birds eggs, what a super colour they are.

    All the best Jan