Stéphane’s Blog for April 23, 2011


It’s been a stormy week! On Wednesday, a fantastic snowstorm dumped a lot of snow on the Northern Bruce. We got between 5 and 10 cm here at Cabot Head. It was also very windy that day. Obviously, there was no banding and only the bare minimum of monitoring. Unfortunately, the wet, heavy snow also messed up the power lines: we’ve been out of power since then. The off-the-grid project is still ongoing and not yet completed, so we are depending on a gasoline generator for our electricity right now. Which is why the blog hasn’t been daily lately!

On Thursday, the day after the snowstorm, the nets were completely frozen, which precluded banding – of course! The day was sunny, though. However, the snow on the ground and cold weather didn’t entice much migration nor activity: only 18 species were detected, with the first Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers of the season.

Finally, on Friday, banding could proceed! It was a relatively good day, migration-wise, with the first flocks of grackles and red-winged blackbirds, as well as American robins and crows. The first Yellow-rumped Warblers of the season were observed. Most of the birds caught were Brown Creepers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and Dark-eyed Juncos. in the evening, oddly enough, we saw the first Barn Swallow of the year! Before even Tree Swallows!

It was good to enjoy banding because it didn’t last: today, Saturday, treated us with a wind- and rainstorm! The wind shifted from southeast to west during the morning and it rained almost all morning, in great sheets driven by the wind. It didn’t stop the first Tree Swallows of the season, though.

Despite the weather, birds are eager to move back to their breeding grounds, securing a good spot before their rival males, balancing the risks of being too early and enduring cold and lack of food or too late and having no good territories left and no chance of mating.

Spring is a rush!