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.