On again off again . . . rain rain rain

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Thursday April 26, 2018:  21 new birds of 7 species, 4 retraps.  New Species: Common Grackle.

We opened about 30 minutes late due to misty rain at dawn.  It was a day that we had to keep a look at radar, and we soon had to close our nets. We had a group from SUNY Geneseo come while we were closed . . . Andrea gave a talk while we waited to open the nets again.  They got see couple of birds before they headed back.     – – Ryan Kayhart

Rainy Day . . . and a lovely afternoon surprise

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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!


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

Warbler #1 of the Spring Season!

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018:  132 new birds of 16 species, 14 recaps.  New species:  Yellow-shafted Flicker and Western Palm Warbler.  Bird of the day was Ruby-crowned Kinglet, with 52 new bands.

The balance has shifted . . . for the first time this season, Ruby-crowned Kinglets outnumber their Golden-crowned cousins.  Coupled with the first early-arriving warbler of the season, it suggests that a new wave of migrants are on the move.

For the last three days, we’ve had a visiting researcher working with us.  Will Feeney is from Queensland Australia, where he investigates brood parasitism in a whole suite of cuckoo species.  He’s here in the states to learn more about our broad-based avian monitoring programs, and he hopes to take some of our best practices back with him to establish a successful program back home.  It was great to have him here!




Comments Off on Hope

Monday April 23, 2018: 92 new birds of 13 species, 10 recaps. New species:  Hermit Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, and White-throated Sparrow.  Bird of the day was Golden-crowned Kinglet with 49 new bands.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul”

Emily Dickinson reminds us that Spring is a time of hope. Wintering species of birds are headed north, and as the temperatures rise and flowers bloom, we are filled with hope that our migratory birds will soon return from their long journeys. Today we saw some of those migrants, such as Eastern Phoebe, as well as large numbers of Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets. Perhaps the Slate-colored Juncos we captured were the last we will see until next Winter. The season is off to a great start, we are hopeful more migrants will start to show up, and we sincerely hope you will join us in our lab or at the nets at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory!     – – Kaitlin Clark


That’s more like it!

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Sunday, April 22, 2018:  69 new birds of 10 species; 19 recaps.  New species:  Blue Jay, Field Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow. Bird of the day was Golden-crowned Kinglet with 37 new bands.

FINALLY!  An actual push of birds coming through!!!  True . . . most were kinglets and there wasn’t much of anything else, but we were grateful to just be able to work for a change!

And we weren’t the only ones working today.  This weekend, Jayden Muller and a crew of boy scouts and eagle scouts transformed the station’s back yard!  Building on the work of another scout, Stephen Zicari, they cleared out old stumps and rocks, leveled the ground, spread rock along a path, built a planter, built 4 benches, replaced a bridge, and built two new release boxes for us.  We’re exhausted just thinking about it!  The boys were all fantastic – polite, curious, hardworking . . . everything you’d expect a boy scout to be.  We were especially touched that several students from the University of Rochester came back to help with the project.

Jayden is the grandson of Tom and Kathy Muller, who live a street over from the station.  Tom actually cut one of our pathways through the woods about 25 years ago, and he installed the two wooden bridges that keep us safe and dry as we cross our little creek.  How cool is it that his grandson got to replace one of them!

19 Cedar Waxwings, and 1 intern

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Saturday April 21, 2017: 28 new birds of 7 species; 1 recap.  New species:  Sharp-shinned Hawk, Eastern Phoebe, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Cardinal.

Well . . . it wasn’t 100 birds, but it was quite a bit better than yesterday!  Most of the birds came in ones and twos, but a flock of 19 Cedar Waxwings completely saved the day (and stole the show!).  We had a great time comparing different ages and sexes, looking at the amount of black under the chin and the wax on the wings.

One crew member who really enjoyed the waxwings is our new intern, Emi Rebollo.  Emi comes from Argentina, where she works with Fork-tailed Flycatchers and Vermillion Flycatchers.  She is here with us for 5 weeks, and she’ll be working on earning her NABC certification.  She’s studying hard, and we’re confident she’ll do great!  She’s a great addition to our team this season, so we hope everyone will stop out and say hello.


We also enjoyed visits from SUNY ESF and Mansfield University today.

Two Recaps, Two Education Birds

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Friday April 20, 2018:  0 birds of 0 species, 2 recaps.  No new species.  There was no bird of the day, because there were no birds!!!

A dedicated crew of hopeful volunteers stuck out the entire chilly morning, making net runs every 15 minutes full of hope . . . only to be disappointed almost every time.  The only relief came during the last run of the day, when they recaptured an American Robin and a Black-capped Chickadee.

Thank goodness Daena Ford (from BBRR) had asked to use our building for a live bird demonstration!  A group of about 20 senior citizens were visiting the hawk watch, and Daena knew the weather was looking grim, so she emailed us asking if we could be a back-up host site for her.  Of course we agreed, and the staff got to see her beautiful education birds, including these two gorgeous raptors!


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