2700!!! More precisely and exactly, 2774 birds banded (and counting)

In this most unusual of fall seasons, we have broken another record by banding over 2700 birds. A young female Downy Woodpecker was the lucky 2700th on October 25, a little ironic given its sedentary habits (see pics on Instagram and Facebook). With still five more days of banding to go, it seems very likely that we will reach and pass the 2800 barrier! 

As forecasted, snow fell on early morning of October 20, lightly covering the ground with a white blanket. Said blanket didn’t last long as the snow turned into rain. Needless to say, there was no banding that day but census and observation brought quite a few waterbirds: Surf and White-winged Scoters in little flocks, Red-breasted Mergansers, a few Horned Grebes leisurely floating on the bay. A young Eastern Bluebird was also observed near the alvar. Banding resumed on October 21 and has been going strong almost every day (with totals over 40 banded birds) with the notable exception of two days of strong South wind when most of the nets stayed closed (for bird safety).

And so, the banding total has kept on clicking up steadily and surely. It is not because of kinglets now however, even if that banding total is also creeping up towards the record (only 33 more needed!). Instead of kinglets, it is the Black-capped Chickadees now that are keeping us busy with days of 22 or 25 birds. It does not sound like a lot but chickadees always put up a fight: their beak is strong and they can pinch! During that past week, we also banded 4 Red-breasted Nuthatches, breaking the previous record by… 4 birds! A Gray Catbird was banded on October 24, a relatively late, although not unheard of, date for that species. 

More and more leaves are falling down and less and less birds are around. It certainly feels like the end of the season, despite the still very good numbers of birds captured. I am hoping that the next cold snap will bring the very late migrants such as Snow Bunting, Common Redpoll (although I heard two of them on October 23), Northern Shrike, and – if we’re really lucky – Bohemian Waxwing.