Today I spent a good part of the morning doing some banding at Ruthven Park. It was great to handle a few birds and catch up with some of the regular volunteers. I have been volunteering here for the past 1.5 years and enjoy every visit. The head bander Rick Ludkin is a great teacher, and always makes everyone feel welcome at the banding station. He regularly updates a great blog which can be found at: http://www.ruthvenpark.ca/natureblog
While banding today I was able to add two new species that were hanging out around the feeders. New for the year were HAIRY WOODPECKER and PINE SISKIN.
Photo: Me with a Common Redpoll.
Photo: A close-up of a Common Redpoll. These birds breed up in the far north and every few years erupt south in big numbers.
For me the banding highlight was all of the Common Redpolls we caught (20+). The park has banded more of them in the past week than in it’s entire banding history (10+ years!). While I have banded oodles of them up in Alaska, I believe these were the first ones that I have handled in Ontario. What a treat!
Another highlight was the Eastern Tufted Titmice that are regulars at this site. They are one of my favourite birds.
I will be heading down to Point Pelee tomorrow, and will work my way back along the Lake Erie shoreline. I hope to be able to turn up a few more new birds for the year.