Wednesday April 25, 2018: 13 birds of 7 species, 6 recaps.  No new species.  Bird of the day was Ruby-crowned Kinglet, with 6 new bands.

Today we experienced April showers early morning and throughout the day. We were able to open our nets for a couple hours toward the end of the morning and capture new birds. We had Ruby-crowned Kinglets in relatively high numbers. We placed a steel band on a Northern Cardinal, whose powerful bill could tear off an aluminum band, which we use for most species as it is light and durable.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was a beautiful second year female Eastern Towhee. Towhees are large, ground foraging sparrows with powerful legs. They do the “Towhee shuffle” to find prey under leaf litter and debris. They are truly a delight to watch forage, as well as to have in the hand for a closer look at their beautiful plumage and eyes, which turn bright red as the bird gets older. Banding birds allows scientists to collect data we can’t always see while birdwatching. These closer looks foster a greater appreciation of the bird and give us important insight into their lives.

Later in the afternoon, we heard about a rare bird in the local woods . . . a Boreal Owl had been spotted!  Andrea and the interns headed over, and they joined the small group of birders and photographers taking short, respectful looks at this fabulous bird.  What does it look like when Ryan Kayhart – our research assistant – gets a new life bird?  Quite a lot like this!

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We may have more April showers on the way; don’t forget to check the weather before visiting the station.     – – Kaitlin Clark