Spring’s Cold Shoulder

Why not check out Meredith’s four minute video about songbird banding at the Delta Marsh Bird Observatory? It’s on YouTube at https://youtu.be/8iHghr0NQ-c

Well, Spring started out chilly! Most days during the first 2 weeks of May were too cold to open nets until later in the morning. Which resulted in very few birds caught!  Overall it’s been a very slow start to Spring. We have had great diversity of species though and a few re-traps, which is always exciting! We re-trapped a female Brown-headed Cowbird which was originally banded in 2018 as a “After Hatch Year” meaning she is either 4 years old or older!

Of course great habitat is not without it’s predators. We’ve had quite a few weasel sightings in the past month. Walter and Wendy, our usual Short-tailed Weasels paid us a visit, an American Mink, and a Striped Skunk. When we have predators hanging around our nets or in the area, we close nets in order to protect the birds. Bird safety is always our number one priority.

With everything happening in the world right now, it has been quite a different setup. We operate as a 2 person or single person station. Masks are worn to protect the birds and ourselves, we sanitize all of our tools, and of course we practice social distancing. If only the Weasels would participate.

Although, bird captures have been few, there’s still good birding happening at the Marsh. We’ve seen a Baltimore Oriole, Wilson’s Warbler, Hudsonian Godwits, Black Terns, American Bittern, Brown Thrasher, Blue Jay, and Swans galore!

This year we have a new Bander-in-Charge. It’s me! Meredith! I’m very excited to spend the Summer and Fall with the birds and looking forward to when we can welcome more volunteers safely. We have made the decision to open to the public but we are going to wait until July to have volunteers participate and learn. 

Hopefully, our Spring migration will pick up in the next few days and we can see some brightly colored birds. Clay-colored Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows are great but some color would be appreciated.

photo courtesy Dennis Swayze

This month we also had the pleasure of banding a male Peregrine Falcon on behalf of the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project before it was released at Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre.

It was a great experience! Thanks to Wildlife Haven for having us!

photo courtesy Dennis Swayze

See you all in July and thank you so much to our volunteers for understanding!

— Meredith Stoesz