Sunday, October 6, 2013

End of Sept. Banding

With a weekend of banding blown away by the rainy forecast, I thought I would share a few more photos of some of the birds we got the past two weeks! There have been some amazing little guys coming through and I am starting to get really sad that there are not too many weeks left before migration is over!  

For most of my life so far,I have been quite the night owl.  Heading to sleep at midnight or later, waking up around noon.  It was such the life!  When I first got up to do my first breeding bird survey at 3am...I wanted to cry. Literally...I thought it was the worst wake up time anyone could ever have and that people who do this for a living are utterly insane!  As karma always turns I hear that same line used over and over, except this time it's other's saying it about moi!  The first while, I'll admit was brutal, biking through Toronto at 4am..sketchy beyond belief...But if you love it, it's worth it!  One of the things I have absolutely grown to love about being a morning person, is seeing some absolutely amazing sunrises. I've almost grown fonder of them than sunset!
Sunrise, TTP
Sunrise reflecting off the Toronto Skyline

We've had some pretty awesome birds lately too!  One of my new favourites has been the Winter Wren.  These little guys have a really loud sound for being in such little bodies (isn't that true for all small birds...or things!).  The big black eyes and little white specks all around it's back make it most distinguishable for me. Being a forest bird, they can be difficult to spot while walking in the woods, but their it away immediately!  Cool Fact: Per unit weight, the Winter Wren delivers its song with 10 times more power than a crowing rooster! (

Winter Wren
 Next up, we have been getting LOADS of Kinglets!  These little guys love chattering up in the treetops with their wheezy voices.  I, for some reason, have a hard time distinguishing their sound from some sounds chickadees make...but thankfully with the practice you get from seeing billions of them, is you never forget their sounds!  These birds are separated into two different birds, the ruby-crowned (on the left) and the golden-crowned (right).  As you can see, each of their crowns match their names!  Some of the males in the golden-crown species, like the one in the photo, have that extra flare of orange added, it makes for quite the looker!  Cool fact: Although they are small, these birds are hearty and often can survive when the weather dips below -40 by huddling together for warmth! (

Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
The next species we found a few of was a Brown Creeper!  These guys are really neat to watch as they creep along trees.  You can usually spot these little guys climbing up trees (creepers creep up! Nuthatches fall down, is how I remember it).  Brown Creepers are so beautifully coloured and often remind me of Gonzo, from the Muppets! Cool fact about these guys (again from  Brown Creepers burn an estimated 4–10 calories (technically, kilocalories) per day, a tiny fraction of a human’s daily intake of about 2,000 kilocalories. By eating a single spider, a creeper gains enough energy to climb nearly 200 feet vertically. Wow! 

Brown Creeper
Next up, was our Yellow-bellied Sapsucker!  These guys are in the woodpecker family and when an adult (this ones a young bird) they have a red cap on their head, red throat, and yellow belly.  Being a woodpecker, they peck holes into trees in order to find bugs but also rely heavily as sap for the primary source of their diet!  I can definitely say that I was terrified to hold this guy when we were banding him, but I am so glad that Charlotte made me! It was definitely intimidating to hold a woodpecker who was pecking away trying to shatter your knuckle, but...SO COOL!

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Me and the YBSS (Photo by: Charlotte England)

The last two birds I thought I'd share are the Black-throated Green Warbler and Northern Parula.  Both are members of the Parulidae family.  The Black-throated Green is a common breeder in the northeastern coniferous forests and is seen in this area during migration on it's way to Central America and northern South America.  Although my favourite is the Black-throated Blue...this guy is just as equally beautiful with it's bright yellow and black throat.  It's heard throughout forests singing it's loud "Zee-zee-zee-zoo-zee!" In fact, an individual before had been heard sining it's song 466 times in one hour (!!
Black-Throated Green
The Northern Parula has to be one of the most beautiful Warblers that I have ever encountered.  In the fall, when most warblers lose their breeding colours and look a little more "dull", the Parula is still absolutely gorgeous. It has blue-gray wings and hood and a yellow chest.  Across it's chest is a reddish speckled band that looks stunning against the yellow.  They are closely associated with epiphytes such as beard moss, which they use for nesting material. It's worried that with changes in climate and increased air pollution, that the moss needed by this bird are starting to disappear, reducing the area available for it to nest.

Northern Parula
Until next time....Happy Birding!

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