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Sunday, 25 August 2019

The First Weekend of Fall Bird Banding at SpruceHaven and a Visit by Wild Birds Unlimited, Kitchener, ON

   
24 August 2019

     There is always a sense of excitement and anticipation when we start afresh with our bird banding activities and this year was no exception. I met Kevin, dark and early, and we were soon afterwards joined by Ross, and set up five nets.
     It was cool when we started (8° C) and few birds were moving around. At that temperature nor were the mosquitoes fortunately!  
     We retraced our steps from the final net and in the very first one retrieved a juvenile Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilocus colubris) had also been ensnared, but since we do not have a permit to band hummingbirds it was released right away.
     This young Grey Catbird was acquiring new feathers as can be clearly seen below.




     A couple more rounds of the nets yielded nothing, but the day was warming and insects were starting to rise out of the grass, and our next circuit was more productive.
     A Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), which undergoes at least partial moult before leaving the breeding grounds, was also showing evidence of moult in the tail feathers.




     It is relatively infrequently that we trap Field Sparrows (Spizella pusilla) so we considered ourselves exceptionally fortunate to capture two juveniles of this species.




     A Nashville Warbler (Leiothlypis ruficapilla) is somewhat more predictable, however.




     Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) is the most common new world sparrow in our area, so the only surprise was that we caught but one.




     House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) have had a prolific breeding season this year, with several successful nests at SpruceHaven, and this young bird will soon be making its first migratory journey.





All birds banded 24 August: House Wren (1), Grey Catbird (1), Field Sparrow (2), Song Sparrow (1), Nashville Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (4)  Total: 10 individuals of 6 species.

25 August 2019

     It was our great pleasure to host a group of people under the aegis of Wild Birds Unlimited (wbukitchenerwaterloo@gmail.com) who were interested in all that goes on at Sprucehaven. It was a small but enthusiastic group, and it was my great pleasure to try to impart some of the magic of SpruceHaven to them. I was especially delighted to see children present.




     I do not have all the names of the people above but I will give the ones I know and I would be happy to add the the others if people would contact me. Along the back row, working from the left, unknown, Sharon Dillon-Martin, Tammy ?, Cathy Hale (Owner, Wild Birds Unlimited). In front are Darwin (great name!) and his sister, Joy. Tammy is their mom and is to be congratulated for bringing out her children to enjoy the wonders of nature.
     Kevin was unable to band with us this morning, but Ross came out to help and Heather was happy to make her first appearance of the season. Judy and Lorraine came out later.
     It was with a good deal of pleasure that we caught our first empidonax flycatcher, the morphology and biometrics of which narrowed it down to Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus).




      It was while processing this bird that a fly in the family Hippoboscidae, an obligate parasite of birds and mammals, dropped out of the feathers. (Picture courtesy of Ross Dickson)



    
     These flies are commonly referred to as flat flies and can compress their body and easily insert themselves into the feather tract of their avian host, being able to move sideways to sidle through the feathers. At least we did the bird the service of removing this bothersome intruder!
      A Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is a resident species, and this individual that flew into our mist net was banded along with the migrants.



     The highlight of our banding session was a Mourning Warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia), a species we do not often capture, and in fact a species infrequently encountered in the field.




     A young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) let Heather know that he was not at all sanguine about being handled.




     It is not so bad when they seize your whole finger as above, but if they clamp down on the skin between your thumb and forefinger it is painful!
     A Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) was our first capture of the season.



     Chipping Sparrows (Spizella passerina) breed locally so it is quite possible that this juvenile bird may have been born right at SpruceHaven. 



     Our final bird banded was a juvenile male American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), a resident species. I expect we will trap a few more goldfinches before the season is done.




     It was a great weekend of banding, aided in no small measure by good weather, and the wonderful fellowship of bird enthusiasts, and a visit from Cathy and friends. 
     Ross will be back at it on Tuesday!

All birds banded 25 August: Least Flycatcher (1), Warbling Vireo (2), Black-capped Chickadee (1), Grey Catbird (1), American Goldfinch (1), Chipping Sparrow (1), Song Sparrow (9), Mourning Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (1), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (1). Total: 19 individuals of 10 species.


45 comments:

  1. It's great that you're part of the team banding the birds. I figured they were all probably scared, so I wasn't surprised to see the later photo of one of them biting a finger.

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  2. Huge thanks to everyone participating in this valuable work.
    I am not surprised that the birds occasionally bite, and hope bloodshed is minimal.

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    1. There is a little bloodshed occasionally, but more than a few bruises from those strong beaks. I can't even imagine what it must be like to get nailed by a parrot or cockatoo.

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  3. Thank you! We had fun. My daughter is Joy.

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    1. Thanks, Tammy. i have made the change and added her name.

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  4. OMG
    It's beautiful!!!!!!
    Hugs and greetings.
    Lucja

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  5. Hello David,
    Nice to see that the younger generations are involved. The birds are very cute.

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  6. I have never seen yellowthroat before, so cute☺

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  7. Since you first commented on my blog I have really enjoyed your posts. I especially like the Mourning Warbler although the name Mourning for such a colourful bird seems incongruous. (Kamo Lady)

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  8. Geweldig mooi werk word door jullie gedaan zoveel aandacht verdiend het ook.

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  9. Hi David.

    You have been able to capture beautiful species.
    Nice that the parasite has been removed.

    Greeting from Patricia.

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  10. Hello, Beautiful variety of birds and photos. The Mourning Warbler is a favorite, I like the cute wren. Looks like a great group of people and a great weekend. Enjoy your day, wishing you a great new week ahead!

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  11. Your team had a good selection of species there David. The Mourning Warbler looks to be in fine condition, unlike those birds in moult. At this time of year, so many birds look scruffy as they change their feathers and there not much a bander can do to make them look better. Perhaps as you do, it is better to explain and show the uninitiated how the process works.

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  12. Preciosas capturas amigo David, una linda mañana y muy buen acompañamiento de gente joven, una nueva generación que esperemos tengan muchísimo más respeto por la naturaleza y el medio ambiente del que hemos tenido nosotros.
    Un fuerte abrazo de tu amigo y compadre Juan.

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  13. Hi David - you managed to get quite a broad selection and the youngsters, eg Chipping Sparrows, presumably will help a lot over the years - when sightings are found. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is just having a practice run! Not nice I can see that ... but he's very beautiful. Love the Goldfinch ... wonderful colouring; while the flycatcher with its parasite fly was interesting to read up about ... It's great teaching and encouraging the youngsters ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I can tell you, Hilary, that the educational component of all that we do is the most significant aspect and I am always pleased when we can impart knowledge, and especially if we can influence children.

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  14. Such fantastic photos of some very pretty little birds.

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  15. It is so interesting to read about the good work your group is doing and I learn much. In addition and less important I suppose,, banding sure gives you great photo ops!

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  16. Sommaren lämnar oss snart och det är dags för höstens fågelmärkning, mycket trevligt att nya personer engagerar sig i denna viktiga syssla. Ni har alla min fulla beundran för det arbete ni gör som hjälper oss och bidrar till att förstå mera av den värld vi lever i.

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  17. David! I admire you and your wonderful team to which you already involve youth. At six o'clock in the morning I didn't have time to look at each picture thoroughly. Now I can say that the photos are very beautiful! It is a pity that the birds cannot speak, they would be very grateful for what you do for them.
    Have a nice week.
    Lucja

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  18. A good selection of birds especially the young ones. Out of curiosity are Hummingbirds ever ringed?

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    1. They are, Pam, but it requires a special permit to do so. The bands are almost like aluminum foil. I have only ever seen a hummingbird banded twice.

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    2. Thanks David, I did wonder, it must be quite a fiddly job with them being so tiny too!

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  19. It's always a joy to see you and your groups engaging with the youngsters, David. Let us hope that there are some future conservation heroes amongst them. I get the impression that there's just too much apathy in the 'middle-aged' population.

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    1. There is little doubt, Richard, that getting young people involved is about the best thing I can do, and it always gives me great satisfaction.

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  20. Fantastic photos of these lovely beautiful creatures.

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  21. David, this is a wonderful group of people who are very enthusiastic! You took very beautiful photos of birds. Being so close to them helped you to create these wonderful photographs.

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  22. Gran selección de aves y en muy bueno tener un control de ellas.
    Estupendas fotos David.
    Te deseo una buena semana.
    Un abrazo.

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  23. juvenile birds look so lovely....
    great shots

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  24. What a great variety of birds, I did enjoy your photographs.
    Great photograph of the group of people/helpers too.

    Enjoy this last week of August.

    All the best Jan

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  25. Interesting photo of the new feathers coming in on the catbird youngster. You banded a nice variety of early fall birds. So fun to see them up close like that.

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  26. the birds are so beautiful captured up-close in your pictures! my yard is filled with catbirds in late spring and summer, they will be leaving soon for winter hiatus!

    my favorite bird was the mourning warbler, it's feathers appeared softer than most!!

    so nice to see kids involved in this project!!

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  27. That is quite a diversity of species that you've banded so far. The pictures are interesting. The birds always look so disheveled at this time of year as they go through molt, but in a few weeks they will be sleek and perfectly groomed once again.

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  28. A great job and indeed good to see young people present David. The next generation for taking over this interesting work and hope for nature in the future.
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. It was amazing, Roos. Those kids spent a couple of hours (or more) with us and never checked an iPhone once!

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  29. Me encantan los días que estáis anillando. Un abrazo David.

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  30. Some of them seem more irritated by the procedure than others.

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  31. Nice post - I was going to ask about the bands on hummers, but you have answered my question above.
    We should see if we can link up with some banners here when you visit.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  32. David - wonderful to see that your banding was successful, and I look forward to more pictures as the autumn progresses. I am hoping to see some new birds passing through our back forty as migration picks up in earnest. Enjoy the rest of your week.

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  33. Hello my friend David,
    show beautiful birds here again. It is also important to keep following the course of these birds and juveniles. We also learn from the birds, their migration and customs. Great that you also share this with us. Really beautiful pictures of our feathered friends :-)
    Dear greetings and a kiss xo

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  34. Such rewarding days of banding. We hear 'cat birds' in our rainforest. Could they be the same species?

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    1. Different species, Helen. Different family in fact.

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  35. These banding posts are always my favorits. I cannot imagine anything more awe inspiring than holding a bird in your hand. And I always wondered about the biting -- now I know!

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  36. Hi David,
    How nice to see this!
    Great show of close-ups of beautiful birds!
    And a fine job to do!
    Regards,
    Maria

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