Monday, May 29, 2006

May 29th, 2006


I trundled in just after dawn and opened a few nets - #'s 2,4,6 and 10. Didn't get much (NOWA, REVI, 2 TRFL, and a GRCA). It got hot really quickly which stifled movement. Mine if not so much the birds. Lots of cuckoos (both flavours) about.

I found a dead nestling Eastern Bluebird by the cemetery this afternoon. It looked big enough to fledge. Not sure what got it.

Liz will be in early (well, for her) to cut the River Trail tomorrow before we get shut down due to heat, humidity and air quality warnings. I'll see what I can do with the net lanes. Probably not much.

I'm in Burlington this week and won't be back on the computer here until Friday night.

Oh, 11 ticks today. Seems like a banner year for them.



When opening this morning there was a complete lack of migrants singing and no visible movement of passerines in the hedge rows. A complete reversal from yesterday. The first 2 net rounds yielded very little but as the morning wore on a few birds kept appearing in the nets so by close down it had been another decent day.

A Great Egret was seen flying up Spring Creek.

Banded: YBFL 2, TRFL 3 (3 WILLOW), GCTH 2, SWTH 5, GRCA 2, REVI 1, MAWA 1, BLPW 1, OVEN 1, COYE 2, WIWA 1, INBU 1, RWBL 2, COGR 1= 26

Selkirk will be closed Thursday June 1st, I have an 8:30 am dental appointment in Hamilton to fix a problem that occured earlier in May.

T- 65 and counting.


May 28th, 2006


It was nice to have lots of birding visitors spending the day in the park. The Niagara Falls Naturalist Club, (led by Rick Young) were treated to a Yellow-billed Cuckoo up close and personal, that Jim Biggar pulled out of the net for them to goo and gaw over. There were several Cuckoo's in the park this morning, both Yellow-billed, and Black-billed, calling from
several locations.

We banded a variety of flycatchers (4), and it was nice to do the comparisons between them.

Banded 24, as follows: 1 BRWA, 1 YBCU, 1 EAWP, 2 YBFL, 1 TRFL, 1 LEFL, 1 SWTH, 3 GRCA, 4 CEDW, 1 REVI, 4 YWAR, 2 COYE, 1 RWBL, 1 COGR, and, a season first for me, ZERO AMGO's.

Fewer retraps today (maybe because the station was closed yesterday), only 8: 1 BRWA, 1 GRCA, 1 REVI, 3 YWAR, 1 BHCO, 1 AMGO.

The 2 Brewster's Warblers, one male retrap, and one unbanded female were found in the same net (#4, where he has been singing (snoring) daily for a month. I was happy to see that he finally found a mate, or at least a female to chase!!)



A few warblers and the odd flycatcher could be heard when opening the nets this morning but not much movement could be detected in the hedge rows.

A handful of birds were caught on each net run but no influx to indicate there was much around. However the birds continued to filter through the banding area until close down.
When all the banding totals were tabulated it had been a good day.

Banded: TRFL 7 (4 ALDER, 1 WILLOW), TRES 1, BCCH 1, SWTH 7, GRCA 5, YWAR 1, MAWA 4, BLPW 2, BAWW 1, AMRE 4, OVEN 1, MOWA 3, COYE 9, WIWA 3, CAWA 2, RWBL 1, COGR 1, AMGO 1 = 54

STD 2540 (So far Selkirk's 2nd best spring)


Sunday, May 28, 2006

May 27th, 2006


A fairly quiet day with just a few new birds filtering through the pines. Variety but no numbers. Barely a decent banding day.

Banded: YBFL 1, TRFL 1 (ALFY), SWTH 1, AMRO 2, GRCA 2, YWAR 3, MAWA 2, BTBW 1, OVEN 1, MOWA 1, COYE 1, RBGR 1, LISP 2, COGR 1, BAOR 1, AMGO 1 = 22

Of note, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo was calling in the hardwoods on the way in.


No banding took place at Ruthven today.

Friday, May 26, 2006

May 26th, 2006

Please note: No banding will take place at Ruthven tomorrow. However, Brian will be hosting a nature walk starting at 7:30AM (bring your rubber boots).

Selkirk - Baillie Birdathon and Banding Report

As advised earlier, Selkirk was closed May 25th as we were doing the Baillie Birdathon. George Pond met me at my place at 4 am and we proceeded toward John Dickie's place picking up our first bird, an Eastern Screech-owl at the usual spot on the 5th concession of Walpole. John Dickie was my 2nd spotter this year and on his first big day.

18 hours and 325 km later all in Haldimand I arrived back home.

It was tough sledding as there were very few small migrant birds where ever we stopped other than Yellow Warblers which were everywhere.

The Brooks Rd. was again dependable for Am. Woodcock and Whip-poor-will. Several singing Blue-winged Warblers were in the area. Ruthven was a bit of a disappointment as the small drop they received had not made an appearance by the time we moved on.

Along the Haldimand road No. 1 N E. of Cayuga a real surprise was a Worm-eating Warbler in a nice looking woodlot which was singing up a storm.

At Rock Point there were a few shorebirds. A nice surprise was an Iceland Gull picked up flying over the water towards Mohawk Island. Warbler wise it was Yellow Warblers and next to nothing else. Our only Black-throated Blue for the day was heard in the camp grounds.

A few shorebirds were seen heading west along the Lake Erie shoreline with Whimbrel being the main interest. 3 flocks totaling nearly 200 birds were seen.

Waterfowl were in short supply with a Redhead west of Featherstone Pt. the best duck found along the lake.

Selkirk was also dead with very few land birds in evidence. We did manage to add 4 warbler species here but it was one of this and one of that. Certainally no indication I missed a good banding day doing the birdathon.

Townsend Sewage Lagoons produced some waterfowl and a couple of new shorebirds. We did not located the good shorebirds reported earlier in the day but did manage to have a White-rumpted Sandpiper fly into just in front of us.

At the Jarvis Sewage Lagoons we found a Pintail for our 7th puddle duck and 12 duck species overall for the day. Very poor numbers of duck species this year.

We headed over to the Drag Strip where John Dickie had had 8 Short-eared Owls a week ago but there was nothing there. Perhaps they had dispursed before we got there or were in a different location.

I ended up with 123 species of the 124 recorded by the group.

With the rain this morning I caught up on my sleep after the preceeding short night and ventured out shortly after 11 am as sometimes there can be a good number of birds after an early morning rain. The banding area was dead and with the rain reoccuring until shortly after 1 pm I did not open the nets. I did catch and band a Red-winged Blackbird in a ground trap so Selkirk was officially open today for an hour or two.


Here is the HBO Baillie Bird-a-thon Team featuring John Miles flanked by George Pond (left) and John Dickie (right). George is the all-time money raiser for the Bird-a-thon.


The rain was a factor from opening till close up this morning, with intermittent showers. But that didn't dampen the spirits of the 56 junior kindergarteners that visited. And even though the rain forced us to close all but the two "feeder nets", we were able to produce at least one bird for each of the five groups of delighted youngsters.

So it was a busy morning, in that regard, but not so on the log sheets, with only 18 new entries.

Banded 2 EAWP, 1 WOTH, 2 GRCA, 1 CEDW, 2 REVI, 3 YWAR, 2 COYE, 1 INBU, 1, COGR, 2 BAOR, and 1 AMGO.

No remarkable retraps: (13): 1 DOWO, 2 BCCH, 1 WBNU, 4 YWAR, 1 COYE, 3 RBGR, 1 AMGO.

Many of the birds we handled today showed evidence of breeding, with very few migrants, I guess in part due to the rainy weather, and in part because the migration season is tapering off.

Please note, the banding station will be closed tomorrow, Saturday May 27th, but everyone is welcomed to join Brian on a Nature Walk around the property. The walk starts at 7:30 am, and leaves from the parking lot. The trails are once again muddy!


Using photos from the morning of May 25th, Rick would like to provide our readers some incentive for getting up early in the morning and visiting Ruthven.

May 26th, 2006

Notice: No banding will take place at Ruthven tomorrow (Saturday, May 27th).

Check back later for today's banding reports.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

May 25th, 2005


I was only at the Ruthven Banding Station long enough to close ( DID I get stuck with that?) but in that time there was a brief fallout of birds which included a number of seasonal firsts. Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Mourning Warbler, Canada Warbler, & Scarlet Tanager finally made an appearance at the park, and Rick saw a Green Heron to top it all off.

I found only 2 ticks on my head on the way home, which was cause for much celebration (although possibly not for the passing motorists I flicked them at).


Retrapped 12: AMGO 3, YWAR 4, HOWR, RBGR, COYE, WAVI, MAWA

The RCKI was unusual in that it had fluffy plumage and a few orange feathers coming in where the ruby crown will be. Possibly an L, a sick bird that lost many feathers, a genetic mutant? I don't know. Wear on the central rects was extreme but otherwise they and the primaries looked "normal". Any comments? (See the photos below)


A few photos of the weird Ruby-Crowned Kinglet.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

May 24th, 2006


Today started off like any other May day at Ruthven this year (i.e. frost on the nets, threat of rain, weeping, wailing, rubbing of gums (teeth long since gnashed off) by the banding lackey) but lo and behold the temperatures warmed up to almost seasonal levels and there were birds around.

There was also a myriad of people too since today was Ruthven's Spring High Tea. In fact I had spent yesterday practising for the event (see Rick's totally misinterpreted and misguided photo from yesterday - notice also that "fear" wasn't even listed as one of the choices) in the hopes of participating but I was sadly not invited. So instead I stayed and banded at the station.

Today was no lonely sojourn in the Piggery by this outcast wannabe tea server however - I somehow collected 5 ticks as companions. Unfortunately I found 4 of them while I was driving home, which would have at least offered me the consolation of qualifying for a carpool lane if Hwy 54 had one.





After a week of just a few new birds filtering through a minor drop occurred in Selkirk comprising mainly of warblers and a few thrushes. There also was a good selection of odds and ends to give the day a good variety of species banded.

Banded: EAWP 1, TRFL 1, VEER 4, GCTH 1, SWTH 6, AMRO 1, GRCA 1, REVI 2, YWAR 1, CSWA 2, MAWA 15, BTBW 3, MYWA 3, BLBW 1, AMRE 5, OVEN 6, MOWA 1, COYE 2,WIWA 5, CAWA 3, SCTA 1, INBU 1, SAVS 1, LISP 1, RWBL 1, BAOR 2 = 71


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

May 23rd, 2006


A cold wind was blowing from the WNW. The temperature was +1 and frost patches mottled the nets. Good training for the Arctic (only two weeks away!) but pretty damned uncomfortable conditions for the end of May! Didn't seem to bother the birds though - they were singing vociferously by 4:15 (Standard time).

There was no "big" net round - just slow but steady. Ended up banding 36 and retrapping 15. Had the first Swainson's Thrush and Eastern Wood Peewee of the year.

36 banded: 1 MODO, 1 TRFL (probably a WIFL), 4 LEFL, 1 HOWR, 1 RCKI, 1 BGGN, 1 SWTH, 5 GRCA, 1 BRTH, 6 YWAR, 1 MAWA, 1 COYE, 1 WIWA, 1 RBGR, 1 CHSP, 1 SOSP, 3 RWBL, 2 COGR, 1 BHCO, 1 OROR, 1 AMGO.

15 retraps: 1 WAVI, 8 YWAR, 1 MAWA, 1 COYE, 2 SOSP, 1 BHCO, 1 AMGO.

Jack-in-the-pulpit - a common flower at Ruthven (and an inspiration to keep the Garlic Mustard under control).

The paid staff taking a couple of hours for lunch in order to enjoy the sunshine and....warm up. The unpaid staff were either digging in the gardens, digging at the archaeological site or closing up the banding lab in order to hustle off to work. It's a strange world sometimes, isn't it?

Good Samaritan or Sexist Pig? YOU MAKE THE CALL!! Brian, seen here running a cup of hot tea over to the Summer student Liz....she was cold. This was at 11:00 AM, intense sunshine and 15 degrees. At 6:00, cold wind, 1 degree, I didn't see any tea coming MY way.


Another so so day at Selkirk. A lot of the species one would expect at this time of the year just have not shown themselves at Selkirk and particularly in the banding area. The odd new bird continues to show up in the nets but the trees have not been dripping birds as one would expect at this time of the year.

Selikirk will be closed Thursday May 25th as I will be spending the day doing the birdathon entirely in Haldimand County. It seems that whatever day I pick to do this it is a wet windy day or there are no migrants easily found. So far rain is not the forecast. Maybe we will finally have a "good" day.

Banded today; LEFL 1, HOWR 1, RCKI 1, GRCA 2, BRTH 1, OCWA 1, NAWA 2, YWAR 7, MAWA 5, MYWA 2, LISP 2, RWBL 3, AMGO 3 = 31


Monday, May 22, 2006

May 22nd, 2006


A day of many remarkable sightings at the Ruthven Banding Station. A Sandhill Crane was observed flying over the property and a skein of 71 Whimbrel zipped over heading upriver. The most amazing sighting however was that of Rick, who through sheer dedication (possibly influenced by gale force winds and snow) cut short his holidays to assist the resident lackeys in their monitoring endeavours.

His selfless actions were rewarded amply by the presence of the first Cape May Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Cliff Swallow, and Whimbrel of the season. Even the mossies broke their torpor long enough to give him a rousing welcome.

A lot more birds around today as evidenced by the number of new migrant species encountered, although the action tapered off by midmorning.

The number of swallows along the river continued to increase with even more Bank Swallows, Tree Swallows, and Barn Swallows being recorded than yesterday, along with a couple Cliff Swallows and 5 Purple Martins.


Retrapped 20: SOSP 2, YWAR 9, AMGO 4, RBGR, BCCH, OVEN, HOWR, BAOR


Male Cape May Warbler.

Brian with proud parents...thank gawd he finally got a job!


Another slow day for this time of the year at Selkirk. A few new arrivals back on
teritory were noted with singing EAWP and WIFL. The Whimbrel are coming through in number with 2 flocks seen on census at the tip totaling aprox. 100 birds.

No sign of the waves of warblers and thrushes being reported elsewhere.

Banded: MODO 1, NRWS 2, RCKI 1, GRCA 2, YWAR 2, MAWA 2, MYWA 6, COYE 1, WIWA 1, CAWA 1,LISP 2, BAOR 1, AMGO 2 = 25


May 21st, 2006


A cold, windy and rather unpleasant day. Rain continued past dawn before dispersing, although it remained a threat throughout the morning. The high wind that drove the rain clouds away (and kept bringing more in..) caused the nets to billow dramatically and much reduced the rate of capture. Remarkably though, there were birds around, particularly in sheltered areas.

The number of swallows found along the river continues to increase, with many Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows, and Northern Rough-Winged Swallows being observed feeding close to the river's surface.

Also remarkable was the fact that Peter was attacked by only a single mosquito. I suspect rather than an attack the poor frigid mossie was trying to share body heat - an action that was sadly (and perhaps fatally) misinterpreted.

The first Olive -sided Flycatcher and Willow Flycatcher were recorded for the season.


Retrapped 12: BCCH, YWAR 4, RBGR 2, INBU, SOSP, AMGO 3

The INBU was originally banded at Ruthven Park as an AHY in 2002.



A damp start to the day. A cold front swept across the provincial during the night and the trailing edge was passing as I left in a light rain shower. By the time I got to the park and started to open the nets patches of blue sky were in the west. By the time the nets were 1/2 open blue sky was overhead. A raw strong westerly wind developed pushing most small birds to the east side of the bandign area where the odd small group found the nets. Not a great day but still a decent effort.

Banded: LEFL 2, VEER 2, AMRO 1, TEWA 1, MAWA 5, MYWA 4, OVEN 1, COYE 1, NOCA 1, RBGR 1, EWCS 4, AMGO 2 = 26

Selkirk's top species this spring with 40 or more banded

WTSP 394
GCKI 242
RCKI 242
HETH 134
SCJU 121
AMGO 112


May 20th, 2006


Another quiet day at Ruthven with very few migrants in evidence around the property. A hatch of mayfly must have begun during the night however as many were observed clinging to the river nets, and there were a moderate number of Tree, Barn, and Bank Swallows foraging over the water's surface. The CHSW and a PUMA also joined the feeding frenzy.

A late COLO was observed by Jim heading west across the dawn sky and a surprising 2 COTE were observed heading downriver during census.

Banded 13: HOWR, YWAR 2, RBGR 2, INBU, SOSP, COGR 2, AMGO 4

Today marked the official opening of the mansion for the summer season.



A bit of warbler calls at first light as well as the odd Wood Thrush. Sounded like an improvement over yesterday. First run was much better than Friday's but then the shoe fell off. A steady movement of birds did move through the pines so by close down time,today was a copy of yesterday but with a bit of change in the variety. A fairly decent day actually.

Banded: HOWR 1, AMRO 1, CEDW 1, NAWA 7, YWAR 3. MAWA 12, MYWA 5, BTNW 2, OVEN 2, COYE 1, WIWA 1, INBU 1, SWSP 1, EWCS 1, BAOR 1, AMGO 1 =41

STD 2310 (3rd best spring so far)


Friday, May 19, 2006

May 19th, 2006


In a rare occurrence Rick, Loretta and myself were actually present at the Ruthven Banding Station at the same time.

Such an auspicious gathering should have under normal circumstances been rewarded by a plethora of rare and exotic migrants, the recovery of birds banded far away and long ago, and the discovery of interesting behaviours undocumented by science. So at least one would think...

Despite the diligent application of herbicidal behaviour and the promise of clean bird bags the heavens did not open deluging us with rare and exotic migrants, recovered birds, while plentiful, were both disappointingly recent and local, and all observed behaviours were of the mundane least until Rick and Loretta left.

Late in the morning a pair of Red-tailed Hawk intercepted a passing Red-shouldered Hawk and harassed him - somewhat unsuccessfully as it turns out since the Red-shouldered Hawk seemed to be giving better than it received. A few minutes later a passing full adult Bald Eagle was likewise intercepted, but did not deign to pay the Red-tailed Hawks much attention. The infuriated Red-tailed hawk duo then salved their pique by picking on an innocent passing Turkey Vulture. All in all an amazing aerial display.



An after-second-year Male Indigo Bunting.


Only the odd warbler call at dawn with 1 WTSP call thrown in. Fist round produced 4 birds which was not a good indication of a decent day. Birds filtered into the area as the day progressed so we ended up with a fairly decent day which was a surprise considered how the day started.

Banded; MODO 1, YBFL 1, RCKI 1, GRCA 4, CEDW 6, NAWA 4, YWAR 5, MAWA 10, MYWA 1, WTSP 1, BAOR 1, AMGO 6 = 41


Thursday, May 18, 2006

May 18th, 2006


A rainy day. I went out just long enough to do a census (and band 1 RBGR and retrap 1 GRCA banded last Fall). Lots of local breeding birds around but not many migrants - especially warblers. John Miles and I have exchanged a couple of e-mails to the effect that despite reports of lots of warblers being seen to the north (e.g., Thickson Woods north of Toronto) we have seen very few. Our thinking is that the birds are just "flying over" - getting north as fast as they can. On the other hand, I have yet to hear/see an Eastern Wood Peewee at Ruthven so far - they should have been here by now.


Red Chestnut on a rainy day.

Rick, feeling rather blue on this rainy, warbler-less day, decided to also paint an image of the Red Chestnut hoping it would cheer him up (or maybe he was just expressing his 'feelings' in some way).

Beauty and the Beast? Noooo....I'm sure that to someone Brian is beautiful. (I just haven't found that person yet.) On his left is Liz Sukkau a recent McMaster graduate and our new Summer student. Liz has a minor in GIS but seems to have lost her way looking for a job in the city. Despite being a Mac graduate, she's pretty knowledgeable and keen to get going.


Raining prety good this morning so I got caught up on some ZZZ's. Radar indicated the storm had past so I went out late around10:30m to sample the banding area. Ran into a light drain/drizzle on Reg. 3 east of the Cheapside Rd. Had the station operational by noon with some spotty light rain persisting. Should have stayed home, there had not been a fall out as sometimes occurs. However I did get a sample which was not too much. From the reports received there are good numbers of warblers at Rondreau and Oshawa but not in our neck of the woods.

Banded: MODO 1, RCKI 1, AMRO 1, CEDW 3, YWAR 4 = 10


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

May 17th, 2006

Special Note: Take a moment to read this article by the Globe and Mail. It discusses the growing threat that Garlic Mustard presents to Southern Ontario's forests and native plant species (I guess the people and cities aren't enough). Ruthven has plenty of this stuff around. While we are encouraging people to pull it up, caution is needed: (an excerpt from the article)

"Do not rush out to the garden to erase any trace of it, either – that may end up doing more harm than good, he added.

“If people are pulling it up while it's in seed, you can actually spread the seeds around by pulling it up.”

When garlic mustard is in flower, usually from April to mid-May, it has not started seeding and is safe to pull up. After that, however, weeding, trampling and even composting can just mean more seeds strewn across a lawn or garden, he said."


A bit more bird life around today despite an unpromising start due to mist and threats of rain.

The Ruthven summer staff came out and spent the morning at the station and seemed to bring good luck as the banding totals were the highest since Saturday. They also managed to collect a large number of ticks, with at least a dozen being encountered between them.

A heavy but brief rain fell soon after the nets were closed.


Retrapped 20: HOWR, BCCH 2, YWAR 3, BAOR 4, SOSP 2, COYE 2, RBGR, GRCA 2, DOWO, AMGO 2

An abandoned Wild Turkey egg was found dug in to the bark mulch around some cedars at the mansion.



Not much moving early but a few warblers were heard singing. The nets were active in the morning and we ended up with a good day with nice variety.

Banded: LEFL 3, HOWR 2, RCKI 2,VEER 1, AMRO 2, GRCA 8, CEDW 4, OCWA 1, NAWA 2, YWAR 8, MAWA 8, BAWW 1, OVEN 5, COYE 2, CAWA 1, SOSP 1, LISP 1, EWCS 3, BAOR 1, AMGO 5 =61


May 16th, 2006


I had a late start this morning, as the rain did not end until after 7am. The sky was full of black clouds, and it was spitting rain again as I drove home about 2 o'clock.

Three of Dr Pat Chow Fraser's summer team were out this morning, so it was nice to have some young enthusiastic birders visit.

Again, I was hesitant to open all the nets, with the weather so unpredictable. This has been a very slow moving Low Pressure cell, dominating the weather here for the last 6 days!

Only 12 birds were banded this morning, in part due to the late start, and in part due to running fewer nets.

Banded (12): 1 RCKI, 1 BWWA, 1 NAWA, 1 YWAR, 2 MAWA, 2 RBGR, 1 BAOR, 2 AMGO.

Retrapped (6): 1 HAWO, 2 GRCA, 1 BAOR, and 2 AMGO.

Of the retraps, we have seen all but one bird already this spring. The one remaining bird was an AMGO originally banded in 04, and not seen since. The HAWO has been handled 8 times, and was originally banded in '02. He was kind of neat, because he had a partial brood patch.


Selkirk was closed today.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

May 15th, 2006

Note: Both posts from the weekend (May 13th and 14th) have lots of photos.


A very slow day at Ruthven. A few warblers about, but nothing in any great number.

The highlight of the day came when a pair of PUMA investigated the two martin houses in the parking lot. The male seemed eager but the female remained uninterested and they disappeared eastward.


Retrapped 22: AMRO 2, AMGO, BAOR 2, RBGR 2, SOSP 4, DOWO 3, BHCO, BCCH, WAVI 2, YWAR 4

The banded MAWA had a large growth under its lower mandible. It looked like an exceptionally large tick except it had a few scattered feathers growing on it.

One of the retrapped BAOR was banded as a HY at Ruthven in 2001. One of the WAVI was banded as an AHY in 2002 and had not been encountered since.


Another slow day, very little noticeable in the banding area but a few birds contiued to appear in the nets every so often.

Banded: YSFL 1, GRCA 3, CEDW 2, YWAR 1, MAWA 1, MYWA 5, NOWA 1, NOCA 1, INBU 1, EWCS 1, COGR 1, AMGO 4 = 22


Monday, May 15, 2006

May 14th, 2006


Mother's Day! And the banding boys were feeling it. Jeff MacLeod (on left in photo), originator of this blog, talked about the physical beatings he suffered at the hands of his wife Amanda (aka Atilla) whenever the alarm went off to signal the start of the banding day. At this rate, maternity might be out of the question. And Jim Biggar (on right in photo) was anxious to get away early, feeling he had to make dinner for his wife...or else.. when really this was the children's job. Our sage advice to tell her to just suck it up - IT'S NOT MY RESPONSIBLITY - and keep banding went unheeded.The hold women have....

A very different day from yesterday - much less action at the nets and fewer birds around generally, which accounted for the time to sit around and ruminate about the above.

Banded 23: 1 HAWO, 1 RCKI, 1 GRCA, 2 BWWA, 4 YWAR, 3 MYWA, 1 COYE, 1 RBGR, 1 INBU, 1 CHSP, 1 RWBL, 1 COGR, 2 BAOR, 3 AMGO.

Retrapped 20: 1 DOWO, 1 WBNU, 1 WAVI, 5 YWAR, 4 RBGR, 1 CHSP, 2 SOSP, 4 BAOR, 1 AMGO.

Some of the interesting retraps: returning YWAR banded July, '05; AMGO banded July '02; SOSP banded September '02; RBGR banded May '03; and another grosbeak banded May '02; 2 BAOR's originally banded May '05.

One of these Baltimore Orioles had made a potentially lethal mistake. It had got its unbanded leg wedged in a tight loop of a vine and couldn't extract it. If we hadn't come upon it, it would have been taken by a predator. We extracted the leg which was a little scraped but fully functional and released the bird.

The Oriole looked somewhat normal until we were near it.

Closer inspection revealed the issue with the leg.

He ended up hanging upside down after an attempt to get away from us. Rick disentangled him, and after a brief inspection, released him.

Here is one of the six Baltimore Orioles that came through the banding station today.

We banded two Blue-winged Warblers today.

A male Indigo Bunting.

Notice the odd cloacal-protuberance-like growth on this bird. The bird is a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and we're not really sure what that thing is.

A Warbling Vireo.

A male Downy Woodpecker(left), and male Hairy Woodpecker, for comparison.

A male (right) and a female Yellow-rumped Warbler.

In the picture below, there are three Baltimore Orioles, all with arrows pointing to them. The lowest is a female, and the other two are male.


Another slow day at Selkirk, although a bit of an improvement over yesterday's effort.

Banded: MODO 1, DOWO 1, HOWR 2, AMRO 2, GRCA 3, CEDW 2, MAWA 1, NOCA 1, EWCS 1, OROR 1, AMGO 5 = 20

STD 2135 (Curently Selkirk's 4th best spring out of 11)

Selkirk's top 10 so far this spring

WTSP 393
GCKI 242
RCKI 238
HETH 134
SCJU 121


Sunday, May 14, 2006

May 13th, 2006 - International Bird Day!

Ruthven - Lots of photos!

We had a very fitting International Bird Day: highest banding total of the season to date (60) and most species encountered in one day so far this season 60 - this included 11 species of warblers. With the 25 retraps, we handled a total of 85 birds. Couldn't have had them at a better time as we had many visitors and all had plenty of opportunity to get involved and see what happens at a banding station.

"New" birds for the season included: Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Tennessee Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, American Redstart.

Banded 60: 1 MODO, 2 GCFL, 3 TRES, 3 WAVI, 1 TEWA, 1 NAWA, 17 YWAR, 12 MYWA, 1 BAWW, 3 COYE, 1 NOCA, 1 RBGR, 1 INBU, 1 RWBL, 4 BAOR, 2 OROR, 6 AMGO.

Retrapped 25: 2 DOWO, 1 TRES, 1 BLJA, 2 WAVI, 7 YWAR, 1 COYE, 1 RBGR, 3 SOSP, 4 BAOR, 1 OROR, 2 AMGO.


Photos (comments appear above photos):

Great Crested Flycatcher

Male Orchard Oriole

Male Common Yellowthroat

Female Black & White Warbler

2 male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds showing how they got their name.

Lisa Young holding a female Yellow-rumped Warbler.

The return of Kristen Thompson (Niwranski) - a volunteer from years ago - holding a Nashville Warbler.

Volunteer Emily Benedict with a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Allison Furber holding our first Tennessee Warbler of the season.

Loretta Mousseau congratulating (or maybe consoling) Irene Schmidt who came to Ruthven to celebrate her 86th(!) birthday by seeing the birds up close and personal. Irene is the one on the left.

Budding Bird Person, Stephany Acland, with a MYWA.

Budding Bird Person's Mom, Frieda Adams, conversing with a stunning male Indigo Bunting.

A bunch of goofballs lounging around...


All good things must come to end and so it was at Sekirk. Todays effort was the poorest since April 28th. In between during a 14 day stretch 986 birds were banded, an average of 70 birds per day. Darn good by Selkirk's standards.

Yesterday a Sedge Wren was calling from the sedge meadow, today from the cattails a Marsh Wren was calling.

Banded: RCKI 1, GRCA 2, YWAR 1, MYWA 1, BAWW 1, LISP 1, SWSP 1,WTSP 1 AMGO 4 = 13


Friday, May 12, 2006

May 12th, 2006

Please note: We now have a Guest Book and Species Reporting/Discussion Board. You can read about it by scrolling down a little bit or clicking here. You can visit the board by clicking this link, or the link on the right side of this page. Go visit and sign our Guest Book!


Wellies were the footwear of choice today. I brought my raincoat, but fortunately did not need it. The wind was gusty by mid morning, and hampered net captures.

I was reluctant to open all the nets, as the sky still looked threatening, so I was happy with the 28 birds I banded for the day.

Banded 28 birds: 1 TRES, 1 AMRO, 1 GRCA, 1 NAWA, 3 YWAR, 1 CSWA,(season's first) 1 MAWA, 3 MYWA, 1 RBGR, 1 INBU, 1 SOSP, 3 WTSP, 5 BAOR, 3 AMGO, and 2 OROR

Retrapped only 5!! 4 YWAR, and 1 BAOR.

We have banded 5 Orchard Orioles in 3 days! What magnificent birds!

I released unbanded an otherwise healthy looking Yellow Warbler, because he had such horny growths on his feet, and tarsus, that I would have needed at least a 1B or 1A band to fit around. Instead, I doused his feet with mineral oil, which is supposed to suffocate the mites that cause the growths. It would be interesting to see this bird again to see how he is fairing. You can't mistake him, even without a band.



Off to an earlier start this morning but not too much was evident early. A few sparrows by the trailer ground traps seem to be where most of the action was. However, a few birds kept appearing in the nets and we ended up with another good day for Selkirk.

Of special note a Sedge Wren was singing in the sedge meadow near the j-trap on one round. Nothing compared to the White-winged Dove banded today at the tip of Long Point which is only about 15 miles as the crow flies from Selkirk.

Banded: MODO 1, RCKI 2, WOTH 3, AMRO 1, GRCA 4, YWAR 2, MAWA 1, BTBW 1, MYWA 1, WPWA 1, OVEN 1, NOCA 1, LISP 3, WTSP 21, EWCS 1, RWBL 3, AMGO 5 =52

STD 2102


May 11th, 2006

Please note: We now have a Guest Book and Species Reporting/Discussion Board. You can read about it by scrolling down a little bit or clicking here. You can visit the board by clicking this link, or the link on the right side of this page. Go visit and sign our Guest Book!


Upon awakening before dawn I was greeted by heavy rain and thunder so I did what any sensible bander does under these conditions and went promptly back to sleep.

Arriving at Ruthven a couple of hours later I found that the rain had stopped and, despite the dire prognostications of the local weather gurus, it actually looked like it was going to remain bandable for a while at least. I consequently hurriedly opened a few nets and scuttled off for a quick census...were I suffered dramatic blood loss to herds of ravenous mosquitoes.

The nets stayed up for a few hours before the deluge came, but there was not a lot of action.

Retrapped 4: SOSP, COYE 2, DOWO

Observed a female YWAR carrying either food or nesting material.



It was raining pretty good when I got up and the weather channel was calling for heavy rains until at least mid day. So I was in no hurry to do anything than to catch up on some sleep. The radar indicated a 4-5 hour window so we left for the park shortly after 6 as the rain had stopped. Everything was operational by 7:30 and it was pleasant morning with the sun breaking out. At 12 the west was getting pretty black so we closed. As we were walking back to the banding lab after closing the last net it started to sprinkle and got heavier before we were able to leave.

For a shortened day a pretty decent day.
Banded: RCKI 3, SWTH 2. WOTH 2, GRCA 7, BHVI 1, NAWA 1, YWAR 1, MAWA 4, MYWA 3, OVEN 3, COYE 1, CAWA 1, RBGR 1, FISP 1, LISP 4, WTSP 5 = 40

Selkirk has had a real run on WTSP this spring. The previous best spring was 306, this spring the total banded is almost if not already over 370.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Guest Book and Discussion Board

This link will take you to the new Haldimand Bird Oberservatory Guest Book and Discussion Board.

This page is going to serve a few purposes:
1. A Guest Book - We are interested in knowing some more about you, our blog visitors. We would appreciate it if you take a moment to leave a comment in our Guest Book telling us who you are, where you are from, how you happened upon this site, and what you think of it.
2. A Species Reporting/Discussion Board - We would like to know about the flora and fauna you observe while you are visiting any of the Haldimand Bird Observatory banding station sites. There are seperate discussion boards for Birds, Plants, Herpetiles (Amphibians and Reptiles), Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths), and Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies).

Registration is not required for posting on this board. If you are prompted for a username while posting, use your own name (and you won't be prompted for a password). Further instructions for posting are provided in the 'Haldimand Admin' posts which appear in each section of the board.

If you take pictures while visiting our banding station sites and would like to post them but do not know how, email your pictures to jeffmacleod'at' (replace 'at' with @). You can post any text you would like to see on the board yourself, and the pictures will be integrated into your post for you (the text could also be posted for you if you like). Please take pictures--they always make posts more interesting!

Peter Thoem, a volunteer at Ruthven, has posted some good examples of what this board could be used for under the 'Birds' and 'Plants' Species Reporting Boards. Go check it out here.

A link to the discussion board site will be added to links section of this blog

May 10th, 2006


Another glorious spring day at Ruthven. The nets were quiet to start, but the bird numbers picked up by mid morning, to end up with a good day. There were not great numbers of any one bird other than Yellow Warblers, but the variety kept things interesting.

The 2006 mosquito season is upon us!

Banded 34 birds as follows: 1 BCCH, 1 BGGN, 3 GRCA, 1 PHVI, (this season's first) 1 NAWA, 7 YWAR, 4 MAWA, 1 BAWW, 1 COYE, 1 RBGR, 1 INBU, 1 CHSP, 2 BAOR, 1 PISI (another first), 6 AMGO, and 2 OROR.

Retrapped 10 birds: 1 BRWA, 1 GRCA, 5 YWAR, 2 COYE, and 1 BAOR.

The Pine Siskin was a real surprise. We sometimes see them in the fall, but almost never in the spring.

The Brewster's Warbler was originally banded in May'02 and has been seen a couple of times every year since, for a total or 15 trappings.

2 of the Yellow Warbler retraps have not been seen since they were banded in '02, and '03.



A quiet day to start but it picked up as the day progressed and then cooled down as noon approached. Overall a better than expected day.

Banded: DOWO 1, LEFL 1, RCKI 2, VEER 4, SWTH 2, HETH 1. WOTH 4, AMRO 1, GRCA 5, YWAR 8, CSWA 1, MAWA 2, OVEN 3, COYE 4, LISP 9, SWSP 1, WTSP 14, GWCS 1, EWCS 7, RWBL 1, AMGO 1 = 73.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

May 9th, 2006


Mist over the river and Wild Turkeys calling at first light - as well as a lot of other speciesl But not a lot of 'new' species. We have yet to see many warblers. Long distance migrants have yet to evolve to a point where they can take advantage of the earlier springs....and the food they freshly emerged mosquitoes. Yes, our national bird is beginning to make its presence felt for another year. Slough forests are good breeding habitat for them and the weather conditions are bringing them out. Not much compensation for the lack of least not to me.

We banded 32 today: 2 HOWR, 2 GRCA, 2 NAWA, 8 YWAR, 2 COYE, 1 NOCA, 1 WTSP, 1 EWCS, 2 RWBL, 1 BHCO, 10 AMGO.

Retrapped 17: 1 HAWO, 1 WBNU, 1 BRWA, 4 YWAR, 1 NOCA, 2 RBGR, 1 SOSP, 3 EWCS, 3 AMGO.

There were a couple of interesting retraps:
-AMGO: banded May '04
-BRWA: banded as an AHY July '05
-YWAR: banded as a SY May '05
-WBNU: banded April 2000
-RBGR: banded as a SY May 2000 (and has gone back and forth between Ruthven
and Latin America 7 times!)

A male Purple Martin continues to hang around the new martin houses - keep your fingers crossed!

New species for the season: Chimney Swift (2 spiralling around the Mansion chimney)


Photos (all taken by John Millman, I believe):

Brewster's Warbler (this one was a retrap, as mentioned above).

Today's Brewster's Warbler again.

Hairy Woodpecker

Yellow Warblers, female on left and male on right (note the male has reddish breast streaks).

An American Goldfinch

A Gray Catbird


This morning's activity was about 1/2 of yesterday's. Like yesterday, bird movement and song just about ceased after 11 am.

Simone Immler from the University of Sheffield spent her 2nd day at Selkirk. Dr. Immler is collecting bird sperm from fresh bird droppings. So far in 2 days she has collected around 60 specimens at Selkirk. She collected somewhere around 150 at Powdermill in Pa. over the previous couple of weeks and will be moving on to Long Point in a week or so.

Banded: BLJA 1, RCKI 1, VEER 5, SWTH 1, GRCA 2, YWAR 2, CSWA 1, MAWA 1, AMRE 1, OVEN 11, COYE 1, RBGR 1, FISP 1, LISP 7, WTSP 3, EWCS 4, RWBL 2, BHCO 1, AMGO 6 = 52

Selkirk may make 2000 birds banded this spring sometime this week. STD 1937