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The Fall Season Comes to a Close

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17 new birds of 6 species, 3 recaps.  The fall banding season came to a close today, as we took down the nets and cleaned up the station.  We opened our nets just after sunrise, hoping the rain would hold off and the nets would dry enough to be put into storage.  Light spits of misty rain came off and on through the morning hours, but a dedicated crew managed to take everything down in a few short hours.  Thanks much to Jon, Virginia, Marilyn, Tom K, Chita, Jenna, and Laura for braving the iffy weather!

Since the Cornell student birding club was visiting this morning, we hoped to be able to catch enough birds to keep them occupied for an hour or two.  While there was great promise in the trees – siskins, juncos, and redpolls flocked by – none found our nets.  We settled for a smattering of kinglets and a sparrow or two.  The next generation of college birders visited the station as well.  Third-grader Joey and first-grader Liam spent a few inquisitive hours with us this morning, along with their mother and grandmother.  Chita did most of the net-picking today, and 13-year old Cici did most of the banding.

Thanks to everyone for a great season!  Only 175 days (more or less) until spring!!!

A Very Slow Indian Summer Day

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Friday October 26, 2012.  It was one of the slowest days of banding I can remember at BBBO. We banded 11 new birds. There were three Northern Cardinals, two each of Winter Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Brown Creeper; plus one junco and one chickadee.   We had five right leg recaps, and one left leg recap.

As we were opening nets, a flock of five Evening Grosbeaks flew overhead calling. Later in the morning, Goldfinches and Cedar Waxwings taunted us from high overhead!  The fine weather had us  sitting outside between net checks, hoping to spot  a Cave Swallow fly over, or maybe a Mississippi Kite, but it was not to be. Thanks to Ruth, Alice, Marilyn, Virgina, John, Mark, Claire, Katie and Jenna for hanging in there with me on such a slow day.  Cindy Marino

A Surprising Bird of the Day!

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45 new bands of 13 species, 5 recaps.  It was a beautiful – almost too warm – fall day at BBBO.  The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and the leaves that remained on the trees made a beautiful yellow and orange contrast to the bright blue sky.  While we were busy for the first two hours, the last four would have been disappointing had we not taken the opportunity to soak up the sun, chat and play games in between net runs.

Were it not for our surprise bird of the day, it would have been dreadfully slow even in the early morning hours.  Comprising 40% of our new bands for the day, the BOD delighted us all as we banded 18 of them.  They came in flocks, and we heard their plaintive song in the trees all morning.  These little birds can be brightly colored in the spring and summer, but fade to a dull brownish-yellow during the fall and winter.  Even their conical bills change from a bright yellow-orange to a dark brown.  Have you guessed our bird of the day???

Nancy, Gayle, Doug, Aggie and Katie (left to right) compare their American Goldfinches. Notice how black the wings are on Gayle and Aggie’s birds, compared to the dull black of Nancy and Katie’s birds. You can also see some bright yellow remaining on two of the birds, which contrasts with the uniformly dull coloration of the others.

It’s the American Goldfinch!  Since we caught several at one time, we were afforded the rare and welcome opportunity to compare different age and sex classes in the hand, and also to compare our observations with the notes in Pyle.

The second most numerous bird of the day was also a bit of a surprise.  Five Northern Cardinals made up just over 11% of the new birds banded today.

A Typical Fall Day

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Wednesday October 24, 2012. 61 new of 11 species and 4 recaps. A fun day to celebrate the final week of fall banding. Although overcast with some showers south of the station we were able to get a full six hours of banding in today. Most numerous species was Slate-colored Junco with 15 new bands followed by Brown Creeper with 12 new bands and Golden-crowned Kinglet with 10 new bands.

Handsome White-breasted Nuthatch - One of Two Banded TodayPhoto by Peggy Keller

Handsome White-breasted Nuthatch – One of Two Banded Today
Photo by Peggy Keller

Only one chickadee was banded. Highlights included two White-breasted Nuthatches, two American Tree Sparrows and two Fox Sparrows.

Jon Dombrowski

Rain Day

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The station was closed today due to a steady rain.

FIRST TREE SPARROW OF THE SEASON!

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Monday October 22, 2012.  41 new and 4 recaps.  New species Tree Sparrow.  It started out a bit cold but the sun came out and we were all happy birders. The cheery Black-capped Chickadee won the prize today with 12 coming to our house.  A Fox Sparrow came to visit and new for the season was a Tree Sparrow.

First Tree Sparrow of the SeasonPhoto by Peggy Keller

First Tree Sparrow of the Season.  Photo by Peggy Keller

Another View of the Tree SparrowPhoto by Peggy Keller

Another View of the Tree Sparrow.  Photo by Peggy Keller

 I think one would hear more human voices in the woods, than bird voices today.  Peggy Keller

Chickadees in the morning, a Screech at night

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Sunday, October 21:  50 new bands of 12 species, 11 recaps.  Bird of the day was Black-capped chickadee with 15 new bands.  It was a fairly routine day of late-season banding, with a couple of highlights.  A small flock of 3 Purple Finches came in all at once, and all were older males.  We banded two new Northern Cardinals today and recaptured one – again, all male.  Two Myrtle Warblers reminded us that winter isn’t here quite yet, but the continuous falling of leaves into our nets reminded us that it isn’t far away.

Sunday night, we opened up for owls.  The radar looked good for birds coming across the lake, and we were not disappointed.  We banded 12 new Northern Saw-whet Owls, but recaptured none.  We also banded a beautiful (really really gorgeous!!!) rufous-morph Eastern Screech Owl.  She was somewhat larger than the grey-morph we did last week, but she was much more good tempered!  Based on the markings on the primary coverts, we aged her as an older (after hatch year) bird, and we suspect she is a female based on her long wing measurement.

This beauty was banded on October 21. I didn’t want to disturb her after I perched her in a tree, so I only took three quick photos. None of them were great, but at least in this one she hasn’t turned her head completely around backwards!

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