Thursday, 18 January 2018

banding update researchers reach the 153rd species banded at the marsh

Bohemian waxwing

My banding day January 11th started out like most this winter. Getting out of the car I was met with the syrupy call of pine grosbeaks contrasted with the more abrasive call of evening grosbeaks. In the background however  there were a few bohemian waxwings  adding their voices to the statement that winter birds can rival their spring and summer cousins in call and beauty. Pine grosbeaks  hopped from branch to branch on willows and spruces as I filled the feeders and lowered the nets.  I never  really put everything together until I did  my first net check and saw the small flash of yellow in the wing and new in an instant that we had a new species for the marsh.  I have never seen bohemians feed on anything but berries and all of the berries at the marsh especially around the nets had been gobbled up a long time ago. Why a bohemian descended from its tree top perch to get caught in a net  while beyond my comprehension is not beyond my celebration. On this day there was no one around to share my excitement  so no one had the chance to witness my happy dance!!!! Its not every day we get the chance to band a new species for the marsh.
check out the yellow flash and the waxy tips 

In addition to the excitement of the waxwings we have recently  surpassed the previous record of pine grosbeaks at the marsh set in 2012 at 65 birds banded, we currently are sitting at 76. This has less to do with us and is really a reflection of the number of pine grosbeaks that have discovered the bounty at the marsh. 
male pine grosbeak

The excitement of the  number of pine grosbeaks we have has spread and today and yesterday the marsh welcomed  a couple of birders and photographers form southern Ontario who left at 4 in the morning to capture an image of a pine grosbeak at the marsh. We were delighted to host Steve Rossi from Brampton and Bill McDonald from Kitchener  Hopefully they will be back with more friends to enjoy the marsh.

Bill on the left and Steve on the right  I definitely have lens envy!!!

 In closing I was excited to find a blue jay in one of our ground traps that we originally banded Oct 15th 2015. Like this blue jay  it is my hope  that our new and older friends will find a way to migrate back to the marsh in 2018. 


  1. Well done Murph and congratulations on your newest.

  2. I could feel your excitement jump off the page when I was reading! We need to come up!!!

  3. They're all soooooo pretty!