This week we waited out a string of rainy mornings, finally opened nets on Thursday, got rained out after two hours, but made up for everything today; this was a private banding day reserved for my class that I designed and am teaching for Widener’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Ten avid students over 50 years old, who have attended four in-class sessions (at the Exton campus) about birds, bird banding, bird song/ID and bird conservation, attended today’s banding session and were thrilled with what they saw and learned.
Below is Doris McGovern’s (our federally licensed master bander) synopsis of the past two banding days:
“77 birds this week of 18 species. Fewer Gray Catbirds came through. It’s a new group of fatter, older catbirds replacing the young birds in heavy molt we have been banding for weeks. White-throated Sparrows have joined catbirds as our “bread and butter” catch. The balance will shift from catbird to sparrow until catbirds disappear around 10/20 and sparrows take over until their numbers dwindle in November (when only the over-wintering population is remaining).
Our warblers: 2 Nashville, 2nd Tennessee, 7 Magnolia, 10 Black-throated Blue, 1 Myrtle. (Nashville and Tennessee warblers must associate with each other during migration because we caught them together in the same net, like last week’s scenario).
Other birds: 1st Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season, 2 White-eyed Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Swainson’s and Gray-cheeked Thrush.
Thrush call notes in the pre-dawn sky were plentiful, but they didn’t stop at Rushton in any number, aside from robins. Great-horned Owls are horny, calling even in daylight as they establish pair-bonds. A Sharpie (Sharp-shinned Hawk) hunts our hedgerows. No woodcock this week.
On a sad note, today we laid to rest our Weigh Cup, 2007-2012, in a shallow grave in the shadow of the banding station near the House Wren nest boxes. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to http://www.wctrust.org/?page_id=1016
Rushton’s banding team did a super job this week. Blake’s Widener Birding class was awed by the beauty of our birds. It wasn’t a typical week, but it was a good one. Lisa, our other principal bander, returns tomorrow and next week looks great on the Weather Channel. Stay tuned.”
Blogster Blake here again. Next week does indeed look spectacular for birds. A cold front moves in this weekend hopefully bringing a last wave of migrants with it, so Monday will be great banding.
We are open to the public on Monday, Columbus Day, (6:15am-11am) so please come on out and enjoy the day off in nature with your family, friends and kids to witness fall’s fantastic display of southbound feathers!
Also, DO NOT MISS THE PREMIERE OF “WINGED PLANET” this Saturday October 6 on the discovery channel at 8pm. Watch this preview to get an idea of the breath-taking bird’s eye-view footage of the marvelous interconnectedness of all the creatures in this amazing planet. I can’t wait!
There’s a lot going on out there in nature,