Saturday, December 16, 2006

John Miles

We are sad to annouce that on December 13th, 2006, John Miles, head bander at HBO's Selkirk banding station, passed away at the West Haldimand Hospital in Hagerville, ON.

The arrangements for John are in the Friday December 15th Hamilton Spectator. Visitation will be at Cooper Funderal Home Sunday 2-4, 7-9, Cooper Funeral home 19 Talbot St W, Jarvis. Funeral service, Monday 10 am Cooper funeral home.

There has been a series of emails circulating, written by some of the many people who had the opporunity to enjoy John's company, learn from him, and experience his passion for birding (and banding). I have posted these emails below, and encourage you to read them, as they provide some understanding of the great work that John did as a bird bander, and the great human being that he was.

I will continue to post any emails that I get about John, so check back for updates to this list. If you would like to say something about John through the blog, email it to . Also, we would love to see some pictures of John at work banding birds. If anyone has them, please send them to the email address above and I'll post them on this blog.

Beginning with the announcement from Nancy Furber:

  • Hello, our computer has been down for the past two days and I was unable to contact anyone. Now, it is with great sadness that I need to share that John Miles passed away yesterday evening - December 13, 2006. His transfer to Norfolk General Hospital, Simcoe was delayed (possibly to a bed shortage) so he was still at the West Haldimand Hospital, Hagersville. We wish to extend condolences to his family and friends with the loss of a wonderful gentleman. His presence will be greatly missed. Nancy Furber

  • Yes, it is a very sad thing.The very first "organized" birding hike I ever went on (as an early teenager) was lead by John - I learned how to discriminate among the "confusing fall warblers" under his tutelage.He had an amazing memory for birds, birding, birders and banding. He could recount the date and year of rarity sightings; he could remember how many birds of which species in which season he had banded; his knowledge of bird lore was encyclopedic. And he was very willing to share it with any one who had an interest.He had a tremendous drive and energy for banding. He would, in some seasons, start Spring banding in late February and end in mid-June only to start up the Fall season in mid-July and run through to mid-November in order that any migrant that could be banded was banded. This regimen entailed so many very early mornings, a long walk into his banding site (at Selkirk) and out again, and then afternoons and evenings of entering the data. Day after day, year after year. It's hard to appreciate this level of commitment without having done it.He was a major collaborator in the formation and development of Haldimand Bird Observatory (HBO). The organization benefited from his wide knowledge of other organziations with which he'd been involved, and from his fund-raising efforts - he was a major money-raiser through the Baillie Birdathon initiative.I will always picture John taking a break at the picnic table having processed a batch of birds and looking forward with that anticipatory eagerness in his eyes to the nets filling again. He could never get enough. Rick Ludkin

  • John was a good friend, a willing ear, and never hesitated to offer additional information. At a meeting last night, I was asked a historical Long Point question and my first thought was "I'll email John and find out". Sadly, those days are gone and I will miss him. Cindy Cartwright

  • This is such sad news - I visited John's banding site on several occasionswhen I was in Toronto for work. He was such a nice old boy and he gave me myfirst opportunity to band a Northern Saw-Whet Owl - I arrived at the stationa little before dawn and went in to John's trailer to find a bird bag on apeg - he handed it to me and said 'present for you' - I heard it snapping inthe bag and knew what it was - he was just a really nice guy and I'll neverforget him banding with a bird in one hand and a cigarette in the other!! -he was just such a character. This is as sad news for Canadian banders aswhen Chris Meade died for English banders - they just don't make them like those guys any more!!Another reminder to make the most of every day and to really enjoy ever bird- Happy winter banding! Derek J. Matthews - Vancouver, B.C. Canada

  • John Miles was a caring, and sharing individual, and just a really nice guy. I'm sorry to see him go. Allen Chartier

  • I feel so bad about John's passing. He was unique in his passion for banding. I think if the fall season had been longer, he still might be with us! He and I used to compare notes between Braddock Bay and Selkirk and he was always quick to point out any misconceptions I had about Canadian geography or Canadian banders! I will really miss him. Betsy Brooks.

  • We regret to inform you that we lost a friend yesterday and our profession lost a dedicated Field Ornithologist and mentor to many. John Miles contracted pneumonia after enjoying his most successful fall season. John was an old fashioned field biologist who did evrything the proper way and was on site in order to be open a half hour before sunrise every possible day during the migration - despite having a 45 minute commute to get there. His professional ethics and sharing of knowledge will stand as a shining example for us all. John had been in a local Ontario hospital since shortly after the fall season and was not doing well; he was anticipating transfer to a larger facility. Today we received the following:

    Hello, our computer has been down for the past two days and I was unable to contact anyone. Now, it is with great sadness that I need to share that John Miles passed away yesterday evening - December 13, 2006. His transfer to Norfolk General Hospital, Simcoe was delayed (possibly to a bed shortage) so he was still at the West Haldimand Hospital, Hagersville.
    We wish to extend condolences to his family and friends with the loss of a wonderful gentleman. His presence will be greatly missed. Nancy Furber

    John will be greatly missed as both friend and colleague! He was so proud of this season's accomplishments and we are happy that he went on such a happy, personal high.

    John & Sue Gregoire Field Ornithologists Kestrel Haven Avian Migration Observatory
  • I was shocked when I found out that John Miles had passed away. I learned of it from the latest BSC Newsletter that I looked at this sunday morning.. I was thinking about him the other day . John and I go back a long way to the Hamilton Junior Naturalist's Club in the late '50s. I did some banding under John's leadership in the 60's at Long Point. We will miss his birding and banding expertise. Ted Dinniwell

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Honeybee hive at Ruthven

Here are some pictures of a large honeybee hive that was recently found on Ruthven's property. Quite phenomenal.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Selkirk Northern Saw-whet Owl Recovery

A Northern Saw-whet Owl 0924-03603 banded at Selkirk as a Hatch-year Female on October 26/2004 was recovered near Sudbury, Massachesetts (422-0711) October 30, 2006.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dry Lake fall banding results

Dry Lake operates as a "backyard " operation, after work and on weekends/holidays when time is available. The location is extremely good for migrants, nesting and wintering birds. The station operator is a sub under John Miles and the results are included in the Haldimand Bird Observatory totals.

Several good birds were seen or banded there this fall. A Western Kingbird was present for a couple of days around Sept, 14th and see by many twitchers. Noteworthy bandings included 1 Olive-sided Flycatcher, 3 Brewster's Warblers, 3 Nortern Saw-whet Owls, 6 Rusty Blackbirds.
The following results are prelimiary subject to correction once the band manager inputting is checked. But 72 species plus 1 form of 940 birds is nothing to sneeze at.

Top 10 banded

Gray Catbird 125
White-throated Sparrow 91
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 78
American Goldfinch 64
American Robin 49
Baltimore Oriole 29
Song Sparow 27
Chipping Sparrow 25
Traill's Flycatcher 24
Yellow Warbler 24

John Miles

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Anti-vehicle Ditches

In an effort to reduce ATV incursions into Ruthven Park property the Lower Grand River Land Trust has built a series of anti-vehicle ditches. Stewardship Committee member Carol Desoer demonstrates their effectiveness.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Selkirk's final banding days in Fall 2006

Selkirk's tenative fall banding season totals

The Selkirk Provincial Park's field station of the Haldiamnd Bird Observatory operated from July 6 through to November 12 for a total of 102 days, 78% coverage was provided. 3883 birds of 85 species were banded. The individual total is the station's best banding season. The 85 species is the station's 2nd lowest total since fall coverage started in 1998.

The following is a preliminary listing of the birds banded pending checking ot the Band Manager inputting. Some minor switches have been know to occur.

From the AOU number order:

Morning Dove 45 (best fall)
Sharp-shinned Hawk 16
N. Saw-whet Owl 4
Black-billed Cuckoo 2
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 31 (best banding season)
Yellow-shafted Flicker 3
Great-crested Flycatcher 2
Eastern Phoebe 12 (best banding season)
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1
Eastern Wood Pewee 6
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher 9
Traill's Flycatcher 15
Least Flycatcher 12
Blue Jay 38
Brown-headed Cowbird 12
Red-winged Blackbird 16
Baltimore Oriole 33
Common Grackle 5
American Goldfinch 139 (best fall)
E. White-crowned Sparrow 7
White-throated Sparrow 143
American Tree Sparrow 8
Chipping Sparrow 2
Field Sparrow 1
Slate-colored Junco 371
Song Sparrow 123
Lincoln's Sparrow 3
Swamp Sparrow 13
Fox Sparrow 22
Eastern Towhee 2
Northern Cardinal 29
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 20
Indigo Bunting 11
Scarlet Tanager 1
Tree Swallow 5
N. Rough-winged Swallow 2
Cedar Waxwing 62 (new banding season high)
Red-eyed Vireo 52 (new banding sesson high)
Philadelphia Vireo 4 (new banding season high)
Warbling Vireo 7 ( ties previous best banding season high)
Blue-headed Vireo 20 (ties previous best banding season high)
Black-and-white Warbler 22
Lawrence's Warbler 1 (ties previous best banding season high)
Nashville Warbler 76
Orange-crowned Warbler 6
Tenneessee Warbler 13
Northern Parula 1
Cape May Warbler 4
Yellow Warbler 90
Black-throated Blue Warbler 45
Myrtle Warbler 111
Magnolia Warbler 168
Chestnut-sided Warbler 12
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Blackpoll Warbler 14
Blackburnian Warbler 5
Black-throated Green Warbler 9
Pine Warbler 2
W. Palm Warbler 11
Ovenbird 48
Northern Waterthrush 5
Mourning Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 50 (new fall high)
Wilson's Warbler 10
Canada Warbler 7
American Redstart 70 (new banding season high)
Gray Catbird 94 (new fall high)
Brown Thrasher 4
Carolina Wren 1
House Wren 25
Winter Wren 19
Brown Creeper 88 (new banding season high)
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Red-breasted Nuthatch 13
E. Tufted Titmouse 2
Black-capped Chickadee 70
Golden-crowned Kinglet 662 (new banding seasson high)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 518
Wood Thrush 1
Veery 6
Grey-cheeked Thrush 24
Grey-cheeked/Bicknell's Thrush 1
Swainson's Thrush 52
Hermit Thrush 82
American Robin 122 (new banding season high)

November 12th

We closed the station down for the season today. Hopefully Selkirk will be up and running sometime in mid/late March next spring.

Closed down with a pretty decent day which should make this fall's the best fall ever Selkirk. The running total in the log book is 3871 but this may be about 10 birds light to what Band manager's total may end up at. The species total in the mid 80's is low but that is the way it is.

Banded: NSWO 2, DOWO 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 7, RCKI 1 (female), HETH 1, COYE 1, ATSP 1, WTSP 2, SCJU 7, AMGO 4 = 28


November 11th

There was about a 5 hour window this morning that we took advanage of and did some banding. Not much a round compared to most days over the past 40 days or so. Banding totals more in line with what I would have expected at this time of the year. Variety but not numbers. The RCKI was another female for those at Ruthven to ponder over.

Banded BCCH 1, GCKI 2, RCKI 1, HETH 1, NOCA 1, WTSP 1 =7

FTD 3843 (best fall 3850!!!) Rick as you predicted Selkirk may make a new banding season high this fall. Over 400 birds banded at Selkirk so far this November, unbelievable.


November 10th

I was off to a funeral today but the crew reported a very good day for the middle of November. Apparently the diurnal flight was something else. Over 40,000 Redwings alone were recorded going over.

Banding wise, banded: DOWO 1, BLJA 1,GCKI 4, RCKI 1,HETH 2, ATSP 5!!!!, SOSP 1, WTSP 1, SCJU 25 (over 350 banded this fall now), AMGO 3 = 44

FTD should be 3836 if the running total in the log book is correct. this is 14 birds shy of my best fall ever at Selkirk. To think that at the beginning of October I would have been plesed to have reached 3000 for the fall. October was real steady with no really large days. November normally has 1-2 days over 25 birds and a lot of 5-10 bird days. This Novmeber 17 has been the low day with most days in the 30-40 or better bird range. Unbelievable!!!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Selkirk - November 6th - 9th, 2006

November 9th

The birds continue to move through Selkirk in steady numbers. American Tree Sparrows continue to be absent this fall.

Another pretty decent day. Banded: BLJA 2, GCKI 6, RCK 2, FOSP 1, WTSP 2, SCJU 28
AMGO 1 = 42

FTD 3792


November 8th

Not nearly as productive at Selkirk today as compared to the past 2 days but still a pretty decent banding day. The diurnal flight this morning was pretty good with 1000's of grackles, and 1000's redwings, lots of E. Bluebirds and a some robins going over for starters.

Banded: BCCH 2, GCKI 4, RCKI 1, HETH 1, NOCA 1, FOSP 1, SOSP 2, WTSP 1, SCJU 10 = 23


November 7th

The forecast was not encouraging for today. The parking lot was wet this morning, it was raining in Canborough so we decided to check the conditions around 6 am rather than stricking out in the dark. After 6 we decided to try a late start as nothing conclusive could be determined from the radar images.

The station was operational by 7:30 and a few birds were present. Other than a couple of short sprinkles the weather held off really well. Shortly after 1 a light rain settled in and we closed.
Banding wise a fairly productive day for the end of the first week of Noveber.

Banded: DOWO 1, BCCH 1, WBNU 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 19, RCKI 9, NOCA 1, FOSP 1, WTSP 1, SCJU 13 = 48


November 6th

A nice November day at Selkirk. Pleasant and sunny mainly. The trails are drying up. The worst sections are now tacky instead of soupy so the mud is sticking to the boots but that is a positive sign. Bird wise a good day number wise but variety is dropping off. Lots of diurnal migrants this morning. 1000's going over.

Banded: BCCH 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 6, RCKI 3, SCJU 29 = 40


Sunday, November 05, 2006

November 5th, 2006 - Ruthven's final day of fall banding


A good finish to an interesting season.

Light southerly winds and overcast skies during the night is always good for banding at Ruthven. And so it was today - the last day of the Fall banding season here. We had a couple of good rounds before the wind picked up and bird movement tailed off noticeably. One interesting sighting was a small flock of Tundra Swans going by from west to east. I heard their beautiful call long before I was able to spot them.

Banded 55:
2 Brown Creeper
5 Golden-crowned Kinglet
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
4 Hermit Thrush
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 American Tree Sparrow
5 Fox Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
10 Slate-coloured Junco
18 American Goldfinch.

Retrapped 29:
3 Downy Woodpecker
1 Blue Jay
10 Black-capped Chickadee (interestingly, most were caught at the same time in Net #10)
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 White-throated Sparrow
7 Slate-coloured Junco
3 American Goldfinch

Our Fall total is approximately 2,063 and our year total is approximately 4,886. I say 'approximately' because I have yet to enter the Fall data into the database. Usually there is a discrepancy between the count total and the electronic total due to......human error. (I then have to painstakingly go over the banding sheets to find the discrepancy.)

Thanks to everyone that helped make this season so productive and enjoyable!



As we progress into November the number of birds present and the variety falls off but the odd surprise does pop up. Today this trend was evident. However, a Monarch Butterfly was seen moving west today.

1 BCCH (Black-capped Chickadee)
1 RBNU (Red-breasted Nuthatch)
2 BRCR (Brown Creeper)
3 GCKI (Golden-crowned Kinglet)
3 RCKI (Ruby-crowned Kinglet)
1 HETH (Hermit Thrush)
1 MYWA (Myrtle Warbler)
1 FOSP (Fox Sparrow)
4 SCJU (Slate-colored Junco)

Total = 17


November 2nd- 4th, 2006

November 4th


It was cold (-5) and clear at opening time. A couple of White-throated Sparrows sang and chipped at me from the margins as I opened (but we didn't catch any of them today). There was a flurry of activity early but it petered out after that. For this time of year, we had pretty good variety for ET's - 39 species, the highlight being the first Rough-legged Hawk of the winter season (in fact, it was the first one encountered this year). I saw it just as I was closing the front gate on my way home.

Banded 34:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
4 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (including a very late female)
2 Hermit Thrush
2 American Robin
3 American Tree Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
14 Slate-coloured Junco
7 American Goldfinch

Retrapped 13:
6 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Northern Cardinal
2 Slate-coloured Junco
2 American Goldfinch

Interestingly, we have not encountered a single Purple Finch this Fall despite having banded a record number of them last year. Could this be due to the excellent cone crop being reported in the north?



A cool but sunny morning although the wind was strong enough in the open to make it raw on the hands. Bird Numbers have dropped substantially over the past couple of days but still pretty decent numbers for early November. ATSP (American Tree Sparrows) continue to be far and few. We have banded only 2 and have 1 retrap from last spring. That has been it period.

Banded: DOWO 1, BLJA 1, RBNU 1, GCKI 4, RCKI 1, HETH 2, EATO 1, SOSP 1, WTSP 4, SJCU 9 = 25

FTD 3622


November 3rd


Clear and cold at dawn this morning. Opening was delayed until it could warm up a bit. The day saw ever increasing wind and cloud cover. Not much in the nets lanes although there was some life around the feeders. My faithful flock of EUST (European Starling) seems to have departed.

A small flock of BUFF (Bufflehead) were observed on the river, and a lone frigid TRES (Tree Swallow) foraged fruitlessly in the -6C temperatures. A few TUVU (Turkey Vultures) were still in evidence following the river southwards.

Around midday a lone GRYE (Greater Yellowlegs) was observed flying over the park.

Banded 15: NOCA, FOSP 2, SOSP 3, SCJU 5, AMGO 4

Retrapped 10: BCCH 6, AMGO, WBNU 2, SCJU



A cool but sunny day for most of the time. Lake effect snows stayed south of Lake Erie. However a good heavy freeze overnight with shaded area still iced over when we left mid afternoon.

Bird wise numbers have dropped off substantially but still darn good for November. Anything over 10 I would consider good this time of the year.

Banded: BCCH 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 4, RCKI 2, HETH 1, OCWA 1, SOSP 1,WTSP 4, SCJU 8 = 23


November 2nd


A quiet dawn....followed by a quiet morning....ending with a cold, windy slightly-louder-but-equally-birdless early afternoon. Not much around the nets but there were some oddities such as an EATO (Eastern Towhee; always nice) and a semi-albino HETH (Hermit Thrush) with large white blotches of white on its rects, coverts, primaries and secondaries. It actually looked fairly sharp.

A very cold Clouded Sulphur was found sheltering in the grass near Net 10.

In other banding news I received notification about a MALL (Mallard) I banded in 1990 being shot near London this fall. The bird was at least 16 years old.


Retrapped 10: BCCH 4, DOWO, SCJU, BRCR, NOCA, AMGO 2



The day started off with lots of sun and no wind but by noon hour it was getting a little raw. Still a good number of birds present for early November. So far the ATSP (American Tree Sparrows) have failed to arrive. Just 2 stragglers so far.

Banded: BLJA 1, BCCJ 1, RBNU 1, GCKI 17, RCKI 4, HETH 4, NAWA 1, FOSP 2, SCJU 31, AMGO 1 = 63

As promised, Nov. 1st figures. I might add that finally after nearly a week of hearing BLJA (Blue Jays) and RBNU (Red-breasted Nuthatches) protesting in the pines we had a look. A LEOW (Long-eared Owl) was in the pines behind the banding trailer.

Banded; BRCR 4, GCKI 24, RCKI 10, BHVI 1, NOCA 1, ATSP 1, FOSP 3, SOSP 2, SWSP 1, WTSP 2, EWCS 1, SCJU 27 = 77


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

October 30th - November 1st, 2006

November 1st

Selkirk's end-of-October report

Overview. Selkirk operated 26 days during October. 1676 birds were banded which is an average of just under 65 birds per day. This keep the crews busy. The fall to date total as at October 31 was 3432 which is the 3rd best fall at Selkirk durning the 9 years the station has operated in the fall.

Top 10 so far this fall

Golden-crowned Kinglet (GCKI) - 562
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (RCKI) - 480
Slate-colored Junco (SCJU) - 180
Magnolia Warbler (MAWA) - 168
American Goldfinch (AMGO) - 130
White-throated Sparrow (WTSP)- 125
American Robin (AMRO) - 123
Song Sparrow (SOSP) - 116
Myrtle Warbler (MYWA) - 110
Gray Catbird (GRCA) - 94


PS. November has started off well with a great day for November 1st. I forgot to write down the day's totals but 77 birds of 12 species were banded. Full listing tomorrow. Best bird may have been a Blue-headed Vireo (BHVI).

For Linda's information Tundra Swans are back and some were dropping down into the estuary or out onto the lake.


What a lovely day to start November! It was a more pleasant day than much of October. No wind to start, with some welcomed sunny breaks. There were more birds around than I had anticipated. Quite a few retraps. Most of these birds were banded very recently.
We are still banding Hermit thrushes, with 4 more today! (This is a Ruthven record, with well over 100 banded.)

Banded 40: 1 MODO, 4 BCCH, 2 GCKI, 1 RCKI, 1 EABL, 4 HETH, 1 AMRO, 3 NOCA, 3 ATSP, 2 WTSP, 15 SCJU, and 3 AMGO.

Retrapped 18: 5 BCCH, 1 BRCR, 1 GCKI, 3 HETH, 6 SCJU, 2 AMGO.


October 31st


Gusty winds and light intermittent showers kept the few birds that were around hunkered down. It was very quiet with little visible migration. Fortunately, to keep the day lively, we had an influx of women: members of the Burlington chapter of CFUW - Canadian Federation of University Women. They were a keen and interested (and interesting) group that kept us on our toes. And they're going to come back to help us brush out a new walking trail.

We ended up banding 21:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
3 Hermit Thrushes
1 American Robin
1 Northern Cardinal
1 American Tree Sparrow
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
3 Slate-coloured Juncoes
2 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 12:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Brown Creeper
1 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Northern Cardinal
4 Slate-coloured Juncoes
1 American Goldfinch



Ruthven Park's banding station was visited by members of the Burlington Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women. Bander Rick Ludkin was able to give them a good introductory exposure to bird studies at the site. Rick reported: "Although I'm just a guy and not that bright, I found that sudden concentrated looks to the treetops or the cocking of my head to nebulous sounds in the underbrush, followed by busy scribbling in my notebook, was all it took to have them thinking I knew what was going on....."


A mild morning with the threat of light rain. Most of the morning was sunny breaks but a distance rumble of thunder could be heard now and then. A light rain started just about normal close down time so we got in a full day. The wind was a little brisk but the pines were again an effective wind block. Not as many birds banded today as compared to the past couple of days but still a decent day. Starting any day now 10 or so birds banded will be a good days catch.

A nice big am. toad was beside the muddy banding trail today. So far this October over 5.25" of rain has fallen to go with the down pours of September which brings the 2 month combined total to over 10 inches of rain. This is a lot for this part of the country and on the heavy clays the surface stays saturated.

Banded: RBNU 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 18, RCKI 7, NOCA 2, SOSP 1, SCJU 10 = 40

October 30th


A beautiful Fall day. Lots of bird movement - in terms of Canada Geese and blackbirds. An American Woodcock flew over net #2 while I was opening. Later, a Common Snipe passed overhead toward the flats on the other side of the river. There were quite a few birds around for this time of year although not much variety (35 species encountered).

Banded 49:
5 Mourning Doves
5 Black-capped Chickadees (unusual for ruthven at any time other than the fledging period)
2 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
4 Hermit Thrush (we've banded well over 100 now which most certainly is a Ruthven record)
1 American Robin,
1 Northern Cardinal
1 American Tree Sparrow
4 Song Sparrows
2 Swamp Sparrows
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
11 Slate-coloured Juncos
11 American Goldfinches

Retrapped 12:
2 Black-capped Chickadees
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Hermit Thrush
1 Northern Cardinal
3 Slate-coloured Juncos
3 American Goldfinches



When it is a nice day at Selkirk the usual pattern is for very few birds to be in the banding area. Fortunately that was not the case today. A pleasant fairly mild sunny day and no gale blowing!!!!! Maybe some of the mud may dry a bit. September and October have seen around 10" of rain fall. Everything is saturated. I can not recall so much slop (mud) around the banding area and this is with 100's of feet of drainage ditches dug and over 400 feet of wooden cat walks laid down over the cronic worst sections.

With the mild weather a garter snake, little brown snakes and even a wood frog were noted in the banding area.

Banded: SSHA 2, MODO 1, BLJA 1, RBNU 1, BRCR 5, GCKI 29, RCKI 3, HETH 2, AMRO 1, CEDW 6, MYWA 1, EATO 1, SOSP 1, SWSP 1, SCJU 21 = 76

The combined kinglet total is now over 1000 banded this fall.


Monday, October 30, 2006

October 29th, 2006

Note: There are a few new pictures in the October 21st post.


It was a wonderful day at Ruthven for flying.....kites. The heavy, gusting winds were affecting all of the nets so I left them closed and hoped the traps would do the job. The sole bird that I caught, a Slate-coloured Junco, got into the trap before it was even baited. All the smart birds stayed hunkered down....somewhere else.



After yesterday's rain out today's forecast was for dry but very windy weather. The energetic crew went out early to try for Northern Saw-whet Owl (NSWO). (Boy is it nice to sleep in!!!) It was a starry night in the predawn but the only NSWO detected was one calling just south of the banding trailer.

Despite the gale force winds out in the open and the high wind warnings issued for the day the pines provided great wind protection resulting in 4 nets blowing a bit and the rest in fine shape.

Banding wise a good day!!!

Banded: BRCR 2, WIWR 1, GCKI 27, RCKI 7, MYWA 1, FOSP 1, SOSP 2, WTSP 2, SCJU 28 =71.

The Magnolia Warbler (MAWA) banded on the 27th was retraped today.

A wood frog was hopping by the banding net trail.

FTD 3316 (3rd best fall and at least 2 weeks to go).


Sunday, October 29, 2006

October 26th-27th, 2006

Please note: The October 24th-25th post has been updated.

October 27th


A cold bitter day made for a cold bitter bander. At least until dawn. A spectacular sunset with shades of fire orange and crimson did much to restore flagging spirits, as did the fact that the rain mostly held off until the nets were closed.

Many birds around, although they were for the most part quiet.

Banded 73:
AMGO 23 - American Goldfinch
RCKI 4 - Ruby-crowned Kinglet
GCKI 3 - Golden-crowned Kinglet
SCJU 14 - Slate-colored Junco
ATSP 13 - American Tree Sparrow
HOFI 4 - House Finch
EABL 2 - Eastern Bluebird
SOSP 2 - Song Sparrow
HETH 3 - Hermit Thrush
WTSP 2 - White-throated Sparrow
FOSP - Fox Sparrow
NOCA 2 - Nothern Cardinal

Retrapped 4:
AMGO - American Goldfinch
BCCH - Black-capped Chickadee
HETH - Hermit Thrush
SCJU - Slate-colored Junco



A great sun rise to start the day but the clouds rolled in shortly thereafter. Enough of a breeze from the east to make it a chilling day when out in the open. A few sprinkles shortly after noon prompted an early close down so that when we got back to the park gates a light rain was starting in ernest.Banding wise a decent day.

BRCR 1 - Brown Creeper
GCKI 16 - Golden-crowned Kinglet
RCKI 8 - Ruby-crowned Kinglet
HETH 6 - Hermit Thrush
BHVI 1 - Blue-headed Vireo
MAWA 1 - Magnolia Warbler
BTBW 1 -Black-throated Blue Warbler
NOCA 1 - Northern Cardinal
FOSP 1 - Fox Sparrow
WTSP 2 - White-throated Sparrow
EWCS 1 - Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
SCJU 7 - Slate-colored Junco


October 26th


A cool start after a fairly clear night but it clouded over a bit and then it was sunny breaks for most of the morning with next to no wind. Never got that warm but no cutting wind chill to contend with.Bird wise it seemed fairly quiet compared to the past few days. Not as many blackbirds, robins etc going over nor the chorus of White-throated Sparrow along the edge of the marsh and the hedge rows. However a good number of Eastern Bluebird going over, perhaps 100's. It was a bit of a surprise of how well the day went when the day's effort was totaled. Actually a darn good day!!!

Banded: DOWO 1, EAPH 1, BLJA 2, BCCH 2, RBNU 1, BRCR 2, GCKI 46, RCKI 7, HETH 4, ATSP 1, FOSP 4, SOSP 1, SWSP 3, EWCS 1, SCJU 11, AMGO 6 (the first banded since mid Sept.!!!!) = 93


Thursday, October 26, 2006

October 24-25th, 2006

October 25th


An overcast day with a steady scattering of migrants, mostly Red-winged Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, American Robin, American Goldfinch and Blue Jay, trickling overhead in the early part of the morning. There was a Carolinian feel to the day (a good thing given that Ruthven Park is situated in Carolinian forest) as at one point Carolina Wren, Eastern Tufted Titmouse and Red-bellied Woodpecker could all be heard calling at the same time from various parts of the property. Otherwise though the woods were fairly quiet, which made the steady stream of birds from the nets somewhat of a surprise.

The first Rusty Blackbird (RUBL) of the season was banded.


Retrapped 11: GCKI, HOFI, AMGO 3, SCJU 3, BCCH 2, HETH



A much better day weather wise and is often the, case nice weather no birds. At least after yesterday it seemed like no birds. It was actually a present decent banding day,

Banded: SSHA 1, EAPH 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 19, RCKI 11, HETH 2, AMRO 3, OCWA 2, MYWA 1, FOSP 3, WTSP 2 , SCJU 2 = 48


October 24th


There were lots of birds about, on this cool cloudy morning, with a nippy North West wind. Flocks of Junco’s Goldfinches, Robins, and Rusty Blackbirds were feeding in the grey dogwoods, in the willows, and on the ground. Fair numbers of Red tailed Hawks, Ring Billed Gulls, Mallards, Canadian Geese, and Grackles were higher overhead, on their way south.

We closed the nets after only 2 net rounds, as I had all the birds I could manage. We could easily have had well over 100 birds had I stayed open.

Banded 82:
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Brown Creeper
4 Golden-crowned Kinglet
7 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
11 Hermit Thrush
10 American Robin
4 Cedar Waxwing
2 Myrtle Warbler
2 Northern Cardinal
2 Song Sparrow
1 White-throated Sparrow
16 Slate-colored Junco
20 American Goldfinch



A cool start to the day with the first frost of the fall around the banding station. Stacey arrived shortly after 9 am so I was able to go to the lab for some blood work. Fairly slow up to my departure time so I was a little surprised when the results were phoned to me. John D. missed grabbing a Peregrine Falcon he had in a net before it rolled out. It would have been Selkirk's 2nd.

The crew got busy after I left and banded the following: MODO 1, BLJA 1, REBU 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 88, RCKI 28, HETH 2, AMRO 2, NAWA 3, MYWA 2, FOSP 1, SWSP, WTSP 1, SCJU 6 = 138


Monday, October 23, 2006

October 21st-23rd, 2006

Please let me know what you think about having all the bird species' names typed out completely, rather than seeing AOU codes. Good, bad, indifferent....let me know. (Use the comment function).

I have some more pictures from this past Saturday at Ruthven which I haven't had a chance to post. Perhaps they will come tomorrow.

October 23rd, 2006


A cool windy day with some sunny breaks Which to some extent did help dry the ground up a bit.

Not a bad day banding wise:

Banded 53:

1 Northen Saw-whet Owk
1 Winter Wren
22 Golden-crowned Kinglet
14 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 American Robin
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 Myrtle Warbler
1 Field Sparrow
2 Fox Sparrow
3 White-throated Sparrow
3 Slate-colored Junco

John Dickie is just back from a week moose hunting at his ranch near Haliburton. John advises that there are flocks of 50+ BCCH roaming around his property. Not sure if this is normal for up there or is there a late influx brewing???


October 22nd, 2006


The forecast for today was not encouraging so I did not get up until 5 am and noticed it was raining here at Jarvis. Continuous checks all morning and into the after noon were all the same. wet. wet wet! So it was with great surprise that I get a phone call from one of my subs who had spent the morning banding. According to him there were short showers but for the most part it was dry banding!!!!!! He even tried for NSWO for an hour in the predawn.

65 Birds banded:

1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Brown Creeper
34 Golden-crowned Kinglet
18 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Hermit Thrush
1 Cedar Waxwing
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
2 Nothern Cardinal
2 Slate-colored Junco


October 21st, 2006


It was a perfect banding day at Ruthven - windless and overcast. It was very quiet along the edges when I was opening so I thought that, perhaps, the birds didn't know this. But...they just quietly threw themselves into the net without the early morning fanfare.

Banded 133:
1 Black-capped Chickadee
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
1 Carolina Wren
20 Golden-crowned Kinglet
26 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Eastern Bluebird
1 Gray-cheeked Thrush
14 Hermit Thrush
2 Blue-headed Vireo
5 Myrtle Warbler
1 Northern Cardinal
6 Fox Sparrow
12 Song Sparrow
1 Lincoln's Sparrow
14 White-throated Sparrow
23 Slate-coloured Junco
2 American Goldfinch
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow

Retrapped 11:
2 Black-capped Chickadee
1 Brown Creeper
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
2 Eastern Bluebird
1 Hermit Thrush
1 Gray Catbird
1 White-throated Sparrow
2 Slate-coloured Junco.


Some photos from Saturday:

A Lincoln's Sparrow

Comparison of a Hermit Thrush(left) and a Gray-cheeked Thrush (right).

A Carolina Wren, Ruthven's first of the year.

A Blue-headed Vireo.

Saturday was a great day for Fox Sparrows at Ruthven (from the bander's perspective, and perhaps not the sparrow's).

Carolina Wren.

Blue-headed Vireo.

Another comparison of the Grey Cheeked (left) and Hermit Thrush (right).

Mitch and Loretta working on banding a Carolina Wren.


We were back at it in Selkirk this morning after taking yesterday off as a rain day. No great masses of birds descended on us but it was steady.

Banded 123:

1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 Brown Creeper
62 Golden-crowned Kinglet
19 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
7 Hermit Thrush
3 American Robin
1 Blue-headed Vireo
1 Myrtle Warbler
4 Song Sparrow
4 White-throated Sparrow
1 Eastern White-crowned Sparrow
18 Slate-colored Junco


Thursday, October 19, 2006

October 18th &19th, 2006

Ruthven, October 19th

Another dull and dreary day, but the rain forecasted for the morning held off long enough for a few busy hours. I closed in a steady mist that turned into rain at 10 o’clock.

Banded 72: 1 OCWA (1st for fall) 1 BCCH, 1 BRCR, 3 GCKI, 11 RCKI, 6 HETH, 1 GRCA, 11 MYWA, 1 VESP (rather a surprise!), 3 SOSP, 13 WTSP, 6 SCJU, and 14 AMGO.

Retraped 8: 1 RCKI, 2 HETH, 1 BHVI, 1 MYWA, 2 WTSP, 1 AMGO.


Selkirk, October 19th

The forecasted over night and morning rain did not materialize but appeared to have gone north and east of Selkirk. Consequently we got most of the morning in but another storm out of Ohio moved in just after noon so we closed early.

Bird wise we started off with a SY M SSHA but it was tough sledding after that. A few kinglets moved into the banding area late in the morning. so we did end up with a decent day.

Banded: SSHA 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 18, RCKI 6 = 26


Selkirk, October 18th

After yesterday's rain out we had a basically mild day with relatively light winds. Bird wise it was a reasonable good day.

Banded: SSHA 1, NSWO 1, BLJA 1, BRCR 7, WIWR 1, GCKI 26, RCKI 20, AMRO 7, BHVI 2, SOSP 3, WTSP 7, EWCS 1 = 77.

After a good summer Selkirk has not banded an AMGO since September 19th.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October 16th, 2006


Very cold and frosty this morning. All the nets were frozen shut at dawn and it took over 2 hours before all of them could be opened.

Lots of birds around however with flocks of Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Bluebird, Common Grackle, and Red-winged Blackbird criss-crossing the sky, and the ever-present Ruthven American Goldfinch contingent at the feeders was very active.


Retrapped 10: EABL, DOWO, AMGO 3, BCCH 3, BLJA, SOSP



A milder day and calmer winds made the day much more pleasant. Got out a little earlier than for the past few windy cold days but no luck so far this fall with Northern Saw-whet Owls. We have an interesting day, steady but no rush so it seemed like a bit of a quiet day but it turned out to be a good day when the tally was complete.

Banded: SSHA 1, MODO 1, BLJA 1, RBNU 1, BRCR 14, HOWR 1, GCKI 32, RCKI 45, HETH 5, AMRO 4, BHVI 4, NAWA 1, MYWA 1, CHSP 1, SOSP 3, WTSP 7, SCJU 5 = 127

Selkirk's top 10 so far this fall

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 333
Magnolia Warbler 167
Godlen-crowned Kinglet 156
American Goldfinch 124
American Robin 105
White-throated Sparrow 104
Song Sparrow 104
Myrtle Warbler 102
Gray Catbird 92
Yellow Warbler 90


Monday, October 16, 2006

October 13th, 14th & 15th, 2006

October 15th


Clear skies overnight - Orion and a bit of moon were overhead when I started to open. Not much activity along the edges. But later, when the sun was just up, American Robins began to drop out of the sky, looking for a place to spend the day - to feed and rest.

Banded 90: 1 MODO, 1 HAWO, 1 BRCR, 2 GCKI, 14 RCKI, 8 HETH, 7 CEDW, 14 MYWA, 1 FOSP, 6 SOSP, 1 SWSP, 9 WTSP, 1 EWCS, 2 SCJU, 22 AMGO.

Retrapped 18: 1 MODO. 1 BCCH, 3 RCKI, 4 HETH, 1 MYWA, 4 SOSP, 2 WTSP, 2 AMGO.



A cool start to the day although the winds have dropped off a bit but still a little breezy and cutting until the sun got warming things up. Of note a Green Heron did a fly by twice at the tip. Monarch Butterflies and Dragon flys are still migrating.

A steady assortment of birds in the trees and a few raptors migrating over.

Several flocks of EABL were noted going overalong with other diurnal migrants.

Banded: RBNU 2. BRCR 3, GCKI 11, RCKI 17 HETH 5, WTSP 6, SCJU 4 = 48


October 14th


Windy and cold from the getgo and almost no call notes from the wood margins as I was I wasn't expecting much. So I was quite surprised when birds started to fill up the billowing nets. I was also pleased as this was "public demonstration" day and we had some visitors - that got their fill of bird banding. Between the three of us (Loretta, Brian and myself) we were able to give all of them a "banding experience".

Banded 103: 1 BCCH, 1 BRCR, 2 GCKI, 11 RCKI, 4 EABL, 11 HETH, 1 AMRO, 10 CEDW, 1 BHVI,
18 MYWA, 1 CHSP, 5 SOSP, 1 SWSP, 15 WTSP, 2 EWCS, 7 SCJU, 1 HOFI, 11 AMGO.

Retrapped 16: 1 DOWO, 2 BCCH, 1 RCKI, 1 EABL (this was a male, banded as a hatchiling in a Ruthven nestbox in 2004), 1 HETH, 1 NOCA, 5 WTSP, 1 SCJU, 1 HOFI, 2 AMGO.

The wimd was keeping the birds low. At one point we had 14 MYWA's in net #6 - all but one of them was in the bottom panel.

An immature Bald Eagle entertained the visitors in mid-morning.


Some photos from the day, courtesy of Faye Socholotiuk:

Faye Socholotiuk with a nice Eastern Bluebird.

Faye Socholotiuk and Leanne Jennings processing a Brown Creeper.

Elaine and Christine Otterman with an Eastern Bluebird.

A Blue-headed Vireo.

At Ruthven, this is where birds wait to be processed after being trapped and extracted. Apparently net #10 was popular on the 14th.

A Hermit Thrush


A much calmer day than yesterday but still a cool raw day especially from mid morning unwards as the wind picked up but the sun was nice. Of note a DCCO of all silly things was on the long foot bridge when I can in this morning and walked off the bridge in front of me in the tractor head lights before disappearing into the brush. When leaving the bird was back by the foot bridge in the marsh grasses where we caught it and released it in Spring Creek where it swam away. I suspect the bird was sick or we would have banded it. Neat blue/green eyes this bird had.

Not a bad day today.

Banded: SSHA 1, BLJA 1, BRCR 3, WIWR 1, GCKI 11, RCKI 18, HETH 1, AMRO 2, OCWA 1, SOSP 3, WTSP 15, SCJU 2 = 59


October 13th


A breezy day with a skif of snow on the ground at dawn. Not too far east of the Park apparently they got socked with snow. We had snow showers, small hail showers and rain showers on and off. However by about 10:30 am the winds were getting pretty strong and with forecast to reach 90 km (55mi.) we packed it in early but it took 2 1/2 hours to close with the 10,000 leaves that blew in.

Even with the weather codition less than ideal we managed to have a half decent day.
Banded: EAPH 2,BRCR 2, WIWR 1, GCKI 4, RCKI 12, HETH 1, AMRO 1, NAWA 2, MYWA 2, WTSP 2, SCJU 4 = 33

Selkirk has now gone over 2400 birds banded this fall.


Friday, October 13, 2006

October 12th, 2006


A breezy damp day at Selkirk but the pines buffered the wind effect considerablely. After yesterday's rain out there was a steady movement of birds in the banding area. An influx of birds did occur just before noon but quieted down quickly. Ended up with a pretty good day.

Banded: MODO 1, EAPH 1, BLJA 1, BCCH 1, BRCR 6, GCKI 18, RCKI 36, HETH 5, AMRO 4, NAWA 2, MAWA 1, MYWA 1, BTNW 1, INBU 1, SOSP 7, SWSP 1, WTSP 5, EWCS 2, SCJU 1 = 95

The 1+" of rain received since Tuesday has not helped the trails to dry out.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

October 10th, 2006


After a slow long weekend it was a pretty good day today. The crew was kept busy with a flurry in the early afternoon.

Banded: MODO 1. EAPH 1, BLJA 1, RBNU 1, BRCR 3, WIWR 6, GCKI 11, RCKI 25, HETH 4, AMRO 4, MYWA 4, OVEN 1, SOSP 1, SCJU 18 = 82


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

October 9th, 2006


A heavy blanket of fog covered the area for much of the morning. The sun finally burned through at 10:00 am. There were a few migrants around in the early portion of the day but when temperatures surpassed 20C they became less active.

Banded 61: AMGO 15, RCKI 14, MYWA 6, SCJU 2, WIWR, BHVI, WTSP 20, EWCS, HETH

Retrapped 14: AMGO 2, RCKI 4, BCCH 3, SOSP 3, WTSP 2

The retrap total does not included Ruby-crowned Kinglets (RCKIs) banded and recaptured the same day. I believe we recaptured more than half of the RCKI banded earlier in the morning. Some multiple times.....

Apparently MENSA has no RCKI members.

In a distressing turn of events it seems that the Pope is suffering from Avian Flu. The ailing pontiff is said to have caught it from a cardinal....



Basically a quiet day at Selkirk. Kinglets were in the area but not in in the net lanes. A few thousand blackbirds were going west but well over the tree tops.

Banded; BLJA 1, GCKI 2, RCKI 4, HETH 1, AMRO 1, NAWA 1, BTBW 1, NOCA 1, SOSP 1, WTSP 5 = 18


Monday, October 09, 2006

October 8th, 2006

Note: Selkirk's October 3rd,4th,&5th banding reports are now posted below (I forgot about them earlier).


A decent day but no records set. Last year the corresponding Thanksgiving weekend generated over 600 birds banded at Selkirk on the Saturday and Sunday. This year the total banded at Selkirk for the same two days barely reached 75 birds. What a difference a year makes!!!!!!!

Banded today: MODO 1, BRCR 2, GCKI 11, RCKI 10, HETH 1, NAWA 2, MYWA 1, INBU 2, FOSP 1, SOSP 1, WTSP 2, SCJU 12 = 46



Another clear night with bright moon. There was not nearly as much activity around the nets as the previous day but still a respectable number of birds were caught.

Flocks of Cedar Waxwing, Common Grackle, and Red-winged Blackbird were evident just after dawn but these diminished as the day progressed.

A lone Greater Yellowlegs made a brief appearance as well.

Banded 55: RCKI 12, AMGO 10, GCKI 4, BRCR 2, MYWA 3, FISP, DOWO, WTSP 12, HETH 3, SOSP 2, CEDW 4, EWCS

Retrapped 12: BCCH 5, DOWO, RCKI 3, SOSP, HETH, RBWO

A tale of 3 Ruby-crowned Kinglets (RCKI) - All the retrapped RCKI were banded the previous day. One was exactly the same weight, one was 0.6 g heavier, the final was 0.6 g lighter. Net change = 0.


October 3rd, 4th, 5th - Selkirk

These are some posts that I forgot to get online a few days ago. October 5th was Selkirk's best day so far this fall.

Reminder: You can find interpretations for the four-letter alpha codes used in the banding reports using the link on the left side of the page titled "Interpret Four-Letter Alpha Codes."

October 5, 2006
A good day!! Banded: EAPH 1, BCCH 1, BRCR 8, WIWR 1, GCKI 6, RCKI 39, SWTH 2, HETH 12, AMRO 2, GRCA 2, REVI 1, NAWA 1, OCWA 2, MYWA 8, WPWA 2, OVEN 1, WTSP 12, EWCS 1, SCJU 4 = Total of 106

October 4, 2006
Rained out!

October 3, 2006
Banded the following during the infrequent sunny break: SSHA 2, EAPH 1, BRCR 1, GCKI 4, RCKI 2, AMRO 1 = Total of 11

Saturday, October 07, 2006

October 6th-7th, 2006

Ruthven, October 7th

A full moon lighted the path joining the net lanes. Even in the dark there was commotion along the edges - White-throated Sparrows and Song Sparrows calling and moving about. It was cold with frost patches. We weren't able to open Net #4 until the sun had been up for awhile. What a fabulous Fall day! In the Spring, beautiful cloudless days would translate into few to no birds. But not in October. It seems that in this month you will get good numbers of birds at Ruthven no matter what the weather.

Banded 124: 1 DOWO, 2 BCCH, 2 BRCR, 1 WIWR, 18 RCKI, 2 EABL, 8 HETH, 1 TEWA, 9 MYWA, 1 EATO, 1 FISP, 1 FOSP, 13 SOSP, 2 SWSP, 31 WTSP, 1 SCJU, 1 HOFI, 29 AMGO.

Retrapped 7: 1 HETH, 3 SOSP, 2 WTSP, 1 AMGO.


Selkirk, October 7th

As reported by Ruthven it was a clear moonlite night. I went out early to try for Northern Saw-whet Owl as John Dickie has seen one while opening the morning before but it was too bright. I did have an Eastern Screech Owl calling very near one of the east side hawthorn nets but it never found its way into a net.

Bird wise there seemed to be a fair bit around early but unlike our good morning of the 5th, reported earlier but not put on the blog, and a very good day yesterday today bird life died early and if it was not for a couple of small flocks of SCJU that appeared around noon we would have had a hard time reaching 30 birds today.

Banded: BLJA 1, GCKI 2, RCKI 10, AMRO 3, NAWA 1, BTNW 1, WTSP 1, SCJU 11 = 30.


Selkirk, October 6th

Finally a sunny day and NO RAIN!!!!!!While not quite as productive as yesterday the crew was kept busy with a fairly good day. When I left at noon there had not been a report of a RTHU but I did remove one from a net on the 5th. Last year the last one was noted on the 6th

The gang reports banding the following: SSHA 1, MODO 1, BLJA 2, BRCR 3, WIWR 3, GCKI 12, RCKI 34, SWTH 2, HETH 2, AMRO 2, NAWA 5, BTBW 2, MYWA 3, WTSP 4, SCJU 2 =78

FTD 2038


Thursday, October 05, 2006

October 5th, 2006


In a welcome change from the recent rain and heavy wind Thursday morning at Ruthven was fairly clear, fairly still, and, most importantly, fairly bandable. The effects of the heavy recent rains were apparent at the station as the creek along the Carolinian Trail had burst it's banks at Net 10, and there were large pools of standing rain water all through the lawn around the station.

There was much bird activity, particularly in the morning. Diversity was low however, with only 33 species being encountered.

Banded 107: RCKI 11, BRCR 3, AMGO 17, GCKI 2, CSWA, MYWA 31, SCJU, SWSP, LISP, REVI, WTSP 14, HETH 13, SOSP 5, EWCS 5, GRCA

Retrapped 4: BCCH, AMGO, DOWO, NOCA


Monday, October 02, 2006

September 28th - October 1st, 2006


October 1st, 2006

A fairly pleasant early October day with lots of sun in the morning

Banded: MODO 1, BLJA 2, BCCH 1, GCKI 6, RCKI 18, GCTH 1, HETH 1, GRCA 1, REVI 1, MAWA 3, NYWA 4, INBU 1, SOS2, WTSP 3, SCJU 1 = 46


September 30th, 2006

For a forecasted rain out, it was a breezy but sunny morning. Light rain finally arrived as the nets were 3/4 of the way closed. A pretty decent day considering the forecast.

Banded: BLJA 2, HOWR 1, WIWR 1, GCKI 8, RCKI 15, SWTH 1, NAWA 2, MAWA 1, BTBW 3, RBGR 1, WTSP 3, SCJU 1 = 39


September 29th, 2006

A pretty good day, steady with good variety.

Banded: EAPH 1, BLJA 1, BRCR 3, GCKI 6, RCKI 5, GCTH 2, SWTH 5, HETH 2, AMRO 4, GRCA 2, TEWA 1, BTBW 1, MYWA 12, WPWA 3, AMRE 2, COYE 1, SOSP 5, LISP 1, SWSP 1, WTSP 15 = 74


September 28th, 2006

A late start and an early finish while dodging rain drops. Still managed to band a few birds.
Banded: EAWP 1, BLJA 1, HOWR 1, RCKI 5, GCCH 2, NAWA 1, MYWA 2, OVEN 1,COYE 1, WTSP 1 = 16

FTD 1643

Selkirk's top 10 so far this fall (Sept 28th)

Magnolia Warbler 162
American Goldfinch 124
Yellow Warbler 90
Gray Catbird 87
Song Sparrow 81
American Robin 77
American Redstart 68
Myrtle Warbler 65
Cedar Waxwing 57
Nashville Warbler 53


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

September 26th and 27th, 2006

September 27th


There was lots of bird activity during pre dawn net opening. Hundreds of swallows were moving south over the river. The first net round was not disappointing, filling every net bag I carried with me. But by 9 o’clock, the wind was up, and the birds disappeared. It took me forever to close the leaf filled nets!

A small movement of Ruby crowned kinglets was evident today.

Banded 59: 1 LEFL, 2 BCCH, 17 RCKI, 2 GRCA, 1 BHVI, 1 WAVI, 3 REVI, 4 NAWA, 1 CSWA, 4 MAWA, 1 BTBW, 1 BTNW, 1 BLPW, 1 BAWW, 2 AMRE, 2 COYE, 1 WIWA, 1 CHSP, 2 SOSP, 8 WTSP, 1 HOSP, and 2 AMGO.

Retrapped 12: 2 DOWO, 5 BCCH, 1 WBNU, 1 GRCA, 1 TEWA, 1 AMGO, and 1 NOCA.

2 of the retrapped Chickadee’s were originally banded in July from the same net at the same time, and I retrapped them together from the same net at the same time today. They are both hatch year birds.



While numbers present in the banding area have been falling off from the last peak on Monday it was still a decent day at Selkirk.

Banded; SSHA 1, MODO 1, BLJA 1, HOWR 1, WIWR 1, GCKI 3, RCKI 2, GCTH 2, AMRO 2, BHVI 2, REVI 1, NAWA 4, CSWA 1, MAWA 3, BTBW 3, MYWA 1, PIWA 1=30


September 26th


A little quieter day at Selkirk today although the variety was a bit better.

Banded: SSHA 1, MODO 1, EAPH 1, BLJA 3, BCCH 2, RBNU 1, RCKI 3, GCTH 1, HETH 1, AMRO 2, GRCA 1, BRTH 1, BHVI 1, REVI 1, NAWA 2, MAWA 4, BTBW 3, MYWA 3, BLBW 2, BAWW 1, AMRE 2, OVEN 3, COYE 1, WTSP 1 = 42


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 25th, 2006

Note: Several reports from Ruthven have been added to the Sept 20th-24th post below.


The nets were opened under the twinkling stars of a clear sky. As dawn approached the receding darkness began to fill with the contact calls of migrants descending on to Ruthven Park for respite from their long journey. Common Yellowthroat began to bicker in the shrubby areas surrounding the banding lab while the harsh cry of Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers could be heard from amongst the flocks of flitting jewels gleaning the foliage for succulent morsels.

The initial net round was rewarding and held the promise of a day filled with bounty....

Too bad the wind picked up and wrecked it all. Despite much activity in the sheltered areas of the property not much was captured after the first round. The exception were Grey Catbird and a small family group of Eastern Tufted Titmouse which was captured near Net 6.


Retrapped 4: HOWR, BTNW, SOSP, TEWA - the latter was banded on Sept 9th so has been hanging around for 16 days.



The morning started up with numerous bird calls, something that has been lacking the past few days. A bit of a run on thrushes and sparrows early while there seemed to be a good number of passerines in the trees. We had a good steady day but were not swamped.

Banded: MODO 1, HOWR 1, RCKI 10, GCTH 4, GCBT 1, SWTH 3, AMRO 4, BHVI 1, REVI 2, NAWA 10, NOPA 1, MAWA 5, BTBW 10, MYWA 8, BTNW 1, AMRE 3, COYE 2, WIWA 1, INBU 1, WTSP 11, SCJU 1 = 83


Monday, September 25, 2006

Photos from September

Here are the photos that were promised a while ago. It seems that blogger will no longer let me upload the very large photos that I have uploaded in the past, but at least it is still letting me upload photos. The first bunch were taken at Ruthven on September 16th, when the McMaster Biodiversity students were visiting.

(Photo captions appear above the photos).

The first Tufted Titmouse of the fall was spotted on September 16th. None banded though.

A Wood Frog, spotted by Peter in the forest near the river.

On Satuday the 16th a Ruffed Grouse flew into a window of the mansion at Ruthven. While the Grouse won the battle between it and the window, it certainly didn't make it through unscathed. It's a good thing these birds spend most of their time on the ground.

One of the visitors holding a Black-and-White warbler.

A very happy McMaster Ph.D. student holding Ruthven's 2nd-ever Hooded Warbler.

A better look at the Hooded Warbler, a nice looking male. The feathers on his head are messed up because he had just been 'skulled' to determine his age.

A Black-and-Yellow Garden Spider, found close to the river.

A reader will have to let me know what this guy is.

A McMaster student holding a Philadelphia Vireo.

Brian found this little Snapper close to the mansion.

A few new nets were setup on Saturday, with the help of the McMaster students. The one on the ground is the old one; notice the color--the nets turn a light brown after sitting in the sun for a while, and then only the stupidest birds fly into them.

Peter and Mitch found a large stand of Woodland Goldenrod in the south woods at Ruthven.

One section of that large stand of Woodland Goldenrod (there was much more).

The following photos were taken at Selkirk, using the camera that Haldimand Bird Observatory won a few years ago for its efforts in the Baillie Birdathon.

I'll let the readers identify this bird (leave a comment, and don't be shy). First person to leave the correct response wins nothing.

September 20th - 24th

September 24th, 2006


Another very slow day at Selkirk, a little breezy but a sunny morning after several showery days. Varitety but certainally no numbers in the banding area.

Banded: BCCH 1, RCKI 1, GCTH 1, BHVI 1, MAWA 1, BTBW 1, MYWA 1, AMRE 1, OVEN 1= 9


September 23rd, 2006


We had a good day at Ruthven, despite the dismal weather forecast. Yes it was damp, but more of heavy mist than rain. The mosquitoes were more of a deterrent than the weather! The numbers were down from Friday, but the big difference was in numbers of Goldfinches banded. (Only 3 today, 23 yesterday) We handled 27 species today, (including a hatch year male Northern Parula, a very handsome bird!)

Banded 37: 1 NOPA, 1 MODO, 1 EAWP, 1 BCCH, 1 RCKI, 1 GCTH, 1 GRCA, 2 REVI, 1 TEWA, 1 NAWA, 2 MAWA, 2 BTNW, 2 BLPW, 2 AMRE, 1 OVEN, 3 COYE, 1 WIWA, 2 INBU, 2 CHSP, 2 SOSP, 2 LISP, 1 WTSP, 1 HOSP, and 3 AMGO.

Retrapped 12: 1 BLJA, 2 BCCH, 1 GRCA, 1 PHVI, 2 REVI, 1 TEWA, 1 MAWA, 1 NOCA, 1 WTSP, 1 AMGO.


A soggy morning to start. More a on and off mist than a good rain storm but it cleared off. with the sun out by noon.

Bird wise very little around all morning in the banding area but the large Dragon Flies, Monarchs and Red Admirals were going through in number.

Banded: RCKI 1, SWTH 1, BRTH 1, NAWA 1, MAWA 2, MYWA 3, BRNW 1, LISP 1 =11.

Mike Postma, the park superintend, was out to day and had a look at the large white pine that is now down to about a 40o angle to the ground in the hard woods that I have expressed concerns to the park contractor for the past couple of years as the lean has been getting worst. I understand a profession tree cutter has been engaged to remove this safety hazard. Perhaps as early as tommorrow afternoon.


September 22nd, 2006


It was a mostly cloudy day, with a bonus, no wind; therefore, relatively few leaves!
What a rewarding day for banding! 26 bird species handled today, including thirteen species of warblers!

The first Slate Coloured Junco was spotted on the grounds.

Banded 72: 3 BCCH, 1 HOWR, 1 SWTH, 1 WOTH, 5 GRCA, 1 BHVI, 5 REVI, 2 TEWA, 4 CSWA, 7 MAWA, 1 CMWA, 1 BTBW, 1 BTGW, 2 BLBW, 2 BLPW, 3 OVEN, 1 COYE, 1 INBU, 4 WTSP, 23 AMGO, 1 OCWA, 1 NOPA, and 1 HAWO.

Retrapped 9: 1 DOWO, 2 BCCH, 1 WBNU, 1 REVI, 1 BLPW, 1 AMRE, 1 INBU, and 1 AMGO.


The big item of interest at Selkirk today was a massive monvement of D.C. Cormorants going west along the Lake Erie shore line.When I got out to the tip on census I noticed a termendous flock of DCCO that extended fro horizon to horizon and just kept coming for several minutes. Massive more continued to move just above the water. All told it took nearly 20 minutes for this massive flight to go by. Smaller groups continued to come through, 3-4 groups of 75-100 in the air at once was a drop in the bucket from the large group the preceeded them. I conservatively estimate 20,000 DCCO went by while I was there. The birds continued to move through in small groups for most of the day.

Banding wise only about 1/2 the number of birds noticed that were present yesterday.

Banded: DOWO 2, WIWR 1, GCKI 1, RCKI 1, GRCA 3, TEWA 1, NAWA 4, AMRE 5 COYE 1 = 19


September 21st, 2006


I opened a couple of nets midday for a group of Grade 5 students visiting Ruthven Park for a tour of the mansion. Despite the time of day there was apparently a good selection of birds around, including the season's (for Ruthven) first MYWA, CMWA and BHVI. In two hours I banded 16 birds of 8 species.

Banded 16: HOFI 2, REVI 2, BHVI, MYWA 2, CMWA, AMGO 3, MAWA 4, TEWA

Retrapped 3: TEWA, AMGO, BCCH



A few more birds around today although not as many raptors going over as yesterday. Overall a pretty decent day.

Banded: LEFL1, EAPH 1, BCCH 3, RCKI 1, SWTH 6, AMRO 3, GRCA 3, BHVI 1, REVI 2, NAWA 2, MAWA 8, MYWA 7, WPWA 1, BAWW 1 = 40


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Several days in September 2006

Hello blog-readers. I must apologize for the delay in getting these banding reports online. I had been waiting to post some pictures with the reports, but blogger continues to have problems posting pictures, so here is the text. Pictures will follow when blogger allows.

Rock Point Banding Station, one of the three Haldimand Bird Observatory stations, is active this fall. Daily banding reports for Rock Point can be viewed at .

Reminder: Use the link on the right side of the page labelled "Interpret four-letter alpha codes" to figure out which species each four letter code indicates in the banding reports.

September 19th, 2006


A heavy over-night rain left standing pools of water in the lawn of the mansion, made the creek along the Carolinian Trail a raging torrent, and created quaint waterfall down the path at Net 4.

A few new migrants were in evidence during the early morning but many of the same old avian faces made an appearance as the day went on.





Still another slow day at Selkirk although a mixed flock of warblers were evident in the hardwoods just north of the banding area. This flock would work its way to the south side of the hardwoods but would not come into the pines. This movement in the hardwoods is fairly regular at Selkirk but especially on slow days can be frustrating.

For the past couple of weeks Mourning Doves seems to be spending a lot of time under the white pines literally in the middle of the pine plantation on the ground. I am guessing but wonder if the doves are after the pine seeds which are all over the ground.

Banded: MODO 1, BCCH 2, GCTH 2, SWTH 1, NAWA 1, CSWA 1, BTBW 1, COYE 1, AMGO 1 = 11

September 18th, 2006


The wind was blowing moderately at opening and increased as the day progressed. The biomass of captured leaves was much higher than that of captured migratory birds.


Retrapped 10: SWTH, CSWA, AMRE 2, GRCA, BCCH 3, PHVI, BAWW

The retrapped warblers, vireo, and thrush were originally banded last week, revealing a lack of recent migratory movement.



Where have all the birds gone? For the second day in a row there has been next to nothing in Selkirk with regards to migrating passerines. For that matter even the local residents have been remaining out of sight.

On casual glances upwards raptors are going over the park and Blue Jays have commenced their fall migration flocks moving along the lake shore. Monarchs and large dragon flies were the most obvious migrants.

Banded today: ETTI 2, SWTH 1, AMRO 4, BLPW 1, COYE 1 = 9


September 17th, 2006


If a leaf falls in the forest, does it hit a mist net? Inevitably it seems at Ruthven Park...

A foggy early morning filled with the sounds of migrants descending into the wooded areas of the property. Once the fog burned off there was a brief flurry of activity at the nets before the wind picked up and clogged them with leaves.

Sadly the Mac Biodiversity folks left us today, leaving behind fond memories and a small Eastern Garter Snake that had taken up residence in the Coach House.

Over the river a Cooper's Hawk was observed playing aerial tag with an unwilling Belted Kingfisher.


Retrap 3: MAWA, SOSP, BCCH

The retrapped BCCH was banded as a SY in March 2002 and is now on its 5th retrap card.



A nice day but the slowest day banding for the month so far. Next to nothing in the banding area.

Banded: MODO 1, GCTH 1, AMRO 4, MAWA 2, BTBW 1, WTSP 1 =10


September 16th, 2006


McMaster's biodiversity students were visiting this weekend. Got there extra early to make them think that banding is REALLY arduous. Overhead, in the dark, birds were calling as they descended - stopping their migration for the day.

It looked like it was going to be a clear day. There weren't very many birds around for the first 2 hours. But then the clouds rolled in, the ground fog lifted and the birds began to move. Had a good mix including a striking male Hooded Warbler!

Banded 57: 1 MODO, 1 YBCU, 1 DOWO, 1 RCKI, 1 GCTH, 3 SWTH, 1 GRCA, 4 PHVI, 1 REVI, 1 NAWA, 3 MAWA, 1 BTNW, 11 BLPW, 1 BAWW, 2 OVEN, 2 COYE, 3 SOSP, 18 AMGO, 1 HOWA.

Retrapped 6: 1 LEFL, 2 BCCH, 1 SOSP, 2 AMGO.



Another quiet day at Selkirk, variety but no numbers. Ended up with a decent day but for the most part small passerines seemed hard to find.

Banded: RCKI 2, VEER 1, GCTH 2, SWTH 1, AMRO 1, BHVI 1, WAVI 1, PHVI 2, REVI 3, MAWA 4, BTBW 1, MYWA 2, BLBW 1, BLPW 1, BAWW 1, AMRE 4, RBGR 1, SOSP 1 = 30


Friday, September 15, 2006

Selkirk, September 13th - 15th, 2006

September 15th, 2006

A steady day at Selkirk with a few birds filtering through.

Banded: SSHA 1, HOWR 1, GCTH 1. SWTH 2, AMRO 2, GRCA 1, BHVI 1, NAWA 1, MAWA 1, CMWA 2, MYWA 3, BPWA 1, AMRE 1, COYE 1, INBU 1 = 20


September 14th, 2006

A little drier day with the sun out for a while this morning. A few more birds today but nothing exciting or outstanding.

Banded: MODO 1, YBFL 1, RCKI 2, SWTH 2, AMRO 3, REVI 1, TEWA 1, NAWA 2, MAWA 1, BTBW 1, PLBW 2, AMRE 1, AMGO 3 = 21


September 13th, 2006

Another wet morning to start off. Light showers and drizzle clearing so that the sun was breaking through by noon hour. Not much around today after what was present yesterday.

Banded; MODO 1, RCKI 1, AMRO 1, MAWA 2, AMRE 4, OVEN 3, AMGO 2 = 14