26 Dec: Today a Great Blue Heron, two Belted Kingfishers, a Brown Creeper were on campus. On Christmas Day, the Bald Eagle was seen along the channel of the Rouge River today about halfway between Michigan Avenue and Rotunda. In the same area was a Winter Wren and three White-throated Sparrows. Three Great Black-backed Gulls were at the Ford Rouge Plant.
21 Dec: A female Hooded Merganser was at Greenfield Village today.
19 Dec: A somewhat redundant list of sightings, species wise, for us. The Bald Eagle was seen again on 12 Dec. A Golden-crowned Kinglet was in the Craves yard again on 16 Dec. On 17 Dec, we had our first winter record of Sharp-shinned Hawk, a bird which showed up in the Craves yard twice that day. Also present were two male Red-winged Blackbirds that visit occasionally, and a few regulars: two banded White-throated Sparrows and a banded Carolina Wren.
7 Dec: Two Fox Sparrows and two previously banded White-throated Sparrows appeared in the Craves east Dearborn yard today; yesterday a late Golden-crowned Kinglet was also here.
2 Dec: I reclocated the Bald Eagle again today. It was on the south side of the Rouge River, visible looking west from the Evergreen Road overpass. It was harassed by a young Red-tailed Hawk, and flew in the direction of the Chicago Road House on Michigan Avenue. This area, where the Lower Rouge meets the main branch, is wooded and steeply-banked and probably a good quiet refuge for this bird.
28 Nov: The Bald Eagle was seen again today, heading from the concrete channel towards UM-Dearborn. At UM-D, a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was seen (probably enjoying running sap in this weather!). At least three White-throated Sparrows are in the Craves yard.
21 Nov: On 19 Nov, an adult Bald Eagle was again seen along the channel of the Rouge River. When it perched on Greenfield Village property, Jim Fowler was able to see that the bird was banded. We need to get a closer look at the color band, and hope to track down the origin of this bird. In less exciting news, at least two White-throated Sparrows seem to be settling in for the winter in the Craves yard.
9 Nov: A Hermit Thrush popped up in the Craves yard, along with two Fox Sparrows. White-throated Sparrows are still present, as well as occasional Red-breasted Nuthatches.
28 Oct: An Eastern Phoebe was in the organic garden.
27 Oct: An adult Bald Eagle was seen on Greenfield Village property along the channelized portion of the Rouge River near Michigan Avenue. It was later seen across the river at the TPC Golf Course. It is along this stretch of the river that migrating Bald Eagles are becoming an annual event.
26 Oct: Today we banded the season’s first American Tree Sparrow, likely the last new species of the year. Yesterday we recaptured a chickadee banded on the very first day RRBO began banding — August 12, 1992. This bird was recaptured in 1993 and 1994, but has avoided the nets since then…until now.
Oct 23: A Purple Finch was banded today. An immature Red-shouldered Hawk also passed by, aided by an escort of crows.
Oct 20: Today we banded a Dark-eyed Junco with white wing bars. There is a race of Dark-eyed Juncos breeding in the Dakotas known as the “White-winged” Junco. However, measurements and coloration proved our bird was just a variation on our usual “Slate-colored” Junco (“White-winged” Juncos are larger and paler).
10 Oct: A Fox Sparrow arrived this afternoon. Among the birds banded today were two Black-throated Blue Warblers. They beat the late date.
9 Oct: Several species are hitting their peak of migration — White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, Hermit Thrushes, and Orange-crowned Warblers (2 more banded today). We also had a Winter Wren today, only the 4th we’ve banded. An Indigo Bunting was banded today as well. The Osprey that has been seen since late last month was at the lake again today.
6 Oct: The season’s first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was in the Craves yard today, along with one of the pair of Black-throated Blue Warblers that have been around for quite awhile…this ties the late fall date for that species. A Blue-headed Vireo was on campus today.
3 Oct: Finally caught our first Swamp Sparrows today. A late report had an American Golden-Plover along the Rouge River channel on 19 Sep. Putting together all of our Osprey reports, we have had sightings from Greenfield Village, the Rouge channel and UM-D from 20 to 30 Sept. These may have involved more than one bird, since two were seen along the channel on 26 Sept.
28 Sept: A Rusty Blackbird not only sets a new early fall date for the species, is the first of its kind banded by RRBO, but is also our 10,000th bird banded on campus!
23 Sept: Hermit Thrushes arrived today, along witht the first Brown Creeper.
22 Sept: Golden-crowned Kinglets arrived in numbers today, several days earlier than the previous early date. An Osprey was seen at Greenfield Village.
19 Sept: A Lincoln’s Sparrow was seen at the city brush dump.
19 Sept: The first Greater Yellowlegs was along the channel today.
17 Sept: We had two new arrivals today: Ruby-crowned Kinglet and White-crowned Sparrow. Both were new early fall arrival dates by several days.
15 Sept: We banded our second fall Connecticut Warbler today; while it was in the bag I had very nice looks at another Connecticut prancing near one of our nets. We also had our season’s first Blue-headed Vireo.
12 Sept: Banded our season first Yellow-rumped Warbler and Philadelphia Vireo. I predicted the vireo as our day began, and even knew which net it would be in. In fall migration, this species is remarkably predicatable, with a typical migration window of 12-15 September.
10 Sept: The surprise bird of the day was an early White-throated Sparrow. Our previous early date was 13 Sept. Later, I found 2 more! Even more startling was the Dark-eyed Junco in my yard…beating the earliest fall arrival date by 12 days.
We’ve now banded 120 Swainson’s Thrushes this season.
4 Sept: Palm Warbler was a new arrival today. I also caught a Red Bat in the nets (surprisingly — considering my early hours — the first bat I’ve ever netted).
3 Sept: A Connecticut Warbler was banded today, along with several other season firsts: Gray-cheeked Thrush, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Bay-breasted Warbler. A Red-breasted Nuthatch was also heard.
1 Sept: New arrivals today were Mourning Warbler and Least Flycatcher.
29 August: Ending a rather dull week of banding, new arrivals in the nets today were Wilson’s Warbler, and a new early fall date for Blackpoll Warbler.
28 August: The season’s first Black-and-white Warbler was banded today.
26 August: The season’s first Veery was banded today.
21 August: New arrivals banded today were Nashville Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and Cape May Warbler. This was a new early fall date for the Cape May, a bird that is infrequently banded at RRBO.
20 August: The season’s first Ovenbird was banded.
19 August: A male Black-throated Blue Warbler provided a new early fall date for this species.
18 August: New arrivals in the nets were Magnolia, Tennessee, and Chestnut-sided Warblers (new early fall date for this species).
17 August: RRBO kicked off the fall banding season today, banding 42 birds this
AM, including Swainson’s Thrush, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, and Canada Warbler.
Also saw a Harvester butterfly near the lake, where there are many alder trees. This species has North America’s only carnivorous larva, which feed on wooly aphids that are fairly common on alders.
9 August: Two Upland Sandpipers flew over Greenfield Village.
21 July: Just after the big wind storm, a Northern Waterthrush strolled through the damage in the Craves backyard.
15 July: Since 10 July, a fourth Least Sandpiper has joined the others at Greenfield Village, and so has a Solitary Sandpiper.
3 July: Jim Fowler rescued a Gray Catbird from inside the Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village. It was a bird RRBO banded as a hatching year bird on 19 Sep 95. It had never been recaptured. Jim released it, minus only a few head feathers.
30 June: Three Least Sandpipers at Greenfield Village (fall migration has begun!)
19 June: A female and two juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were in a west Dearborn yard today, apparently having nested nearby. This is quite southerly for them and a new Wayne Co. record.
10 June: Another late warbler, this time a Bay-breasted, was heard then located in the Craves yard this morning. Previous late date: 31 May.
8 June: A lovely male singing Black-throated Green Warbler was seen today, beating our previous late date by four days. Two Red-headed Woodpeckers were seen at the TPC Golf Course.
3 June: Today a Swainson’s Thrush was getting late, and a Brown Creeper was in the same area where they nested last year. There were two widely separated Yellow-billed Cuckoos calling, one in the same area where I suspect they nested last year as well.
2 June: A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in my Dearborn yard tied the late date.
1 June: 5 young woodcock were flushed in the woods near the Community Organic Garden, where they’ve been seen all spring.
30 May: A Chestnut-sided Warbler in my Dearborn yard will probably be the last warbler there until fall.
29 May: A Gray-cheeked Thrush banded today tied the late date. A Least Flycatcher has been singing in the same place for over a week…maybe it will stay to nest.
27 May: I banded a White-eyed Vireo today, the first since I banded 2 in the fall of 1992, and the first campus records since 2 in the spring of 1996. There have been 21 records of this species in our area, including a successful nest in 1983.
Otherwise, very quiet. One banded Nashville and one Tennessee heard were the only warblers around. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo is still singing near the lake. A Black-and-white Warbler yesterday was getting late.
22 May: Today we finally had our first Blackburnian Warblers, and a Mourning Warbler was banded (another was heard).
We continue to band species that aren’t singing any more much or at all: Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, and Nashville Warblers for example. Today we also had two Common Loons fly over.
20 May: Another Connecticut Warbler was heard again today, this time tantalizingly close to one of our banding nets (no luck, though). A review of records for the last 4 years averaged 6 Connecticut Warbler sightings (“hearings”?) a year. Most are in spring, but we band a couple each fall.
The cold front that came through yesterday, despite having no discernable effect on the weather, did seem to bring some birds around. We had our first sightings of Philadephia Vireo, Willow Flycatcher, and Alder Flycatcher today.
We also netted a Red-eyed Vireo that we originally banded in 1996. This is our first recapture of a REVI from a previous year since I began banding at UM-D in 1992.
19 May: The hot weather with south winds hasn’t helped migration much. We saw our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird yesterday, and today we banded a Yellow-breasted Chat; a Yellow-throated Vireo was seen at Greenfield Village. We seem to have nesting American Woodcock, as one was seen at dusk on 17 May, and another in the same area was startled up today.
17 May: Jerry Sadowski located a singing Connecticut Warbler today. Despite Jerry’s 45 minutes of peering, pishing, craning, squeaking, following, and finally balling up his fists, stamping his feet and whining, the bird did not show itself.
16 May: Our International Migratory Bird Day went well, with warm temperatures and a nice variety of birds in small numbers. People attending the two banding demonstrations got to see in-hand a beautiful male Golden-winged Warbler, a Carolina Wren recap from 1996, and Indigo Bunting, Wood Thrush, and Swainson’s Thrush. We captured our season’s first Wilson’s Warbler, and had a Black-capped Chickadee recap from 1992. We happily located 7 Yellow-billed Cuckoos, several of which were actually seen!
15 May: Today was a little more interesting. We heard our first Eastern Wood-pewee of the season, and banded the first Gray-cheeked Thrush and Savannah Sparrow (don’t band many of them any more; did better when we had nets in a grassy area). Another earlyish butterfly was Silver-spotted Skipper.
Once again, we’ve heard news of one of our banded birds being recovered, this time a Yellow-rumped Warbler, one of the nearly 200 we banded last spring (this spring we’ve had about 5!). This bird was banded by us on 13 May 1997 as an after-hatching year, sex unknown and was captured and released by a bander in Tallahassee, FL on 11 March 1998! Very cool!
14 May: Like Pt. Pelee, it was much quieter here today than yesterday. New arrivals were Swainson’s Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler and Common Nighthawk. Also saw the season’s first Black Swallowtail butterfly, which seemed early to me. The insect life is incredible…thousands of “inchworms” are raining droppings through the forest, mosquitoes are out (no news there), and the last couple days there have been clouds of some kind of midge.
13 May: Today things finally picked up, although it was hardly overwhelming. With non-singing birds nearly undetectable, the depressed numbers are partly an illusion. Red eyed Vireo, Black-billed Cuckoo, and American Redstart were new arrivals, and a Broad-winged Hawk was hanging around the area where we’ve suspected they’ve nested in the past.
We finally got to the 30-bird mark banding (usually considered an average day; a year ago today we banded 60). The birds are widely dispersed throughout the mid and upper layers of vegetation. However, our best bird was a Wood Thrush, previously color banded as part of our ongoing study on the productivity of this species. This male (green over blue) first caught in 1995, was not detected in 1996, but it nested in 1997. Today it was caught with an unbanded Wood Thrush that may be a new mate. We banded her pink over green.
12 May: The only new arrival today was Bay-breasted Warbler.
11 May: More diversity, although still not great numbers, today with 12 species of warblers. New arrivals were Yellow, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, and Black-throated Blue Warblers.
We also welcomed back our first Gray Catbird from a previous year. This bird was banded as a hatching year bird last August. It was netted in the same area were it was originally captured. Each year, we get back at least a dozen or so catbirds banded in previous years. We also recaptured a Blue Jay that was originally banded as a hatching year bird in 1992. It’s been recaptured as a breeding female every year since except 1994 and 1997.
9 May: Today was North American Migration Count day. Considering the leaf-out, perhaps it is more aptly named this year the North American Conspicuous Singing Male Bird Count. One person in 3 hours found only 51 species. While Yellow-rumped and Nashville Warblers and Ovenbirds were more numerous, migration continues to putz along.
The only new arrivals tallied were Veery and Great Crested Flycatcher. A female Cape May Warbler was seen at Greenfield Village.
7 May: Indigo Bunting, Ovenbird, and Blue-winged Warbler (one heard, one banded) at UM-D, and Eastern Kingbird at Greenfield Village. With an ENE wind, only 20 migrating Blue Jays!
6 May: New arrivals were Spotted Sandpiper, Least Flycatcher, Lincoln’s Sparrow (banded) and Rose-breasted Grosbeak (several). At Greenfield Village, Scarlet Tanager and Tennessee Warbler. Nashville Warbler numbers up, Yellow-rumps steady, sudden influx of White-crowned Sparrows.
We’re also becoming intrigued with the number of Blue Jays migrating east/northeast, and have tried to watch the sky. Today we’ve had 19 flocks totalling 348 birds. Typical flocks are around 10 to 15, but a few have been over 40, one was 60.
5 May: At Greenfield Village: Cliff Swallow, Warbling Vireo, and White-crowned Sparrow; in east Dearborn, Whippoorwill
4 May: Wood Thrush, Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Waterthrush (banded), Evening Grosbeak (2 flying over), Pine Siskin (2 flying over), Blue Jays in several flocks totalling over 70 birds, all flying east.
We also received notice of an encounter of one of our banded birds. A Dark-eyed Junco, banded by us as an after hatching-year male on 7 April 1995 was hit by a car in Erie, PA on 29 March 1998.
3 May: Baltimore Oriole, Solitary Sandpiper, a very early nesting Killdeer with 4 young.
2 May: Blue-headed Vireo.
1 May: Chimney Swift, Palm Warbler, Common Yellowthroat today.
29 April: Barn Swallow, Common Tern, Green Heron.
28 April: Black-throated Green Warbler.
24 April: Nashville Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and House Wren
22 April: Northern Harrier and Rusty Blackbird 21 April: Brown Thrasher, Swamp Sparrow
17 April: A Common Snipe was seen winnowing over the old field on the evening of 15 April. Today the season’s first Northern Rough-winged Swallow was at Fairlane Lake.
15 April: This month has seen all the expected arrivals, including both kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, White-throated Sparrow, and Eastern Towhee. One 1 April, Field and Fox Sparrows were seen, as well as a Chipping Sparrow (this was a new early arrival date for that species). Three American Woodcock have been displaying for over a week. The White-winged Crossbills continue at Orin Gelderloos’ west Dearborn feeder. There have been 4 males and 2 females; two of the males were seen today. A male Blue-winged Teal was on Fairlane Lake today.
31 Mar: Yellow-rumped Warbler.
28 Mar: Red-shouldered Hawk.
27 Mar: The first Eastern Phoebe and Pied-billed Grebe were found today. A Northern Harrier flying over was one of only a handful of sightings. Brown Creepers were singing in the area where they nested last year. Four Ring-necked Ducks were unusual on Fairlane Lake, as they are more often seen at the Rouge Plant or on the river. A single American Black Duck was on the lake, and three Herring Gulls found the spawning goldfish easy pickings! More Golden-crowned Kinglets and two more Hooded Mergansers were also seen.
26 Mar: The first Golden-crowned Kinglet in the Craves yard today. Also Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on campus.
22 Mar: Three Turkey Vultures, first of the year.
15 Mar: An American Woodcock was flushed today. The old field area and organic garden are good places to see woodcock displaying in spring.
11 Mar: A female White-winged Crossbill was at a west Dearborn feeder today. A pair of Great Horned Owls is nesting at Greenfield Village. A pair of and Hooded Mergansers at Greenfield Village sets a new early date.
5 Mar: Two overwintering Red-breasted Nuthatches and at least one overwintering White-throated Sparrow are still around.
1 Mar: Song Sparrows (those that haven’t overwintered) have returned.
22 Feb: Still 33 Common Redpolls…now feeding away from Fairlane Lake as they’ve stripped the alder trees of their seeds. Redpolls are also showing up at Dearborn feeders.
10 Feb: Blackbirds have arrived! 40+, mostly Common Grackles, and a few Red-winged Blackbirds and Brown-headed Cowbirds. Also Horned Lark at Greenfield Village.
4 Feb: The Hermit Thrush found on the Christmas Count was seen again in the same place on campus on 24 Jan. A few White-throated Sparrows are still hanging in there, and the Common Redpoll flock has now grown to 40+. The banded Fox Sparrow at my feeder made his monthly appearance on 2 Feb.
In other interesting bird news, RRBO has had another band recovery. Only 35 Indigo Buntings have been banded since 1992, but a second-year male I banded on 13 May 1995 was found dead in Bowling Green, OH on 6 June 1997.
21 January: Today’s survey turned up 25 species including Common Redpoll (15), Brown Creeper (1), White-throated Sparrow (5), Song Sparrow (4), Carolina Wren (2), a Great Horned Owl being mobbed by crows, and six birds flying overhead that were probably White-winged Crossbills.
7 January: A Fox Sparrow, with a band, made an appearance in the Craves yard yesterday. Obviously it’s been around, but had the audacity not to show up for the entire Christmas Count period. The Red-breasted Nuthatches at the same location are apparently the only ones around in Dearborn.
3 January: The Detroit River Christmas Bird Count was held on New Year’s Day. Highlights of the Dearborn portion include:
# Hooded Merganser — a single at the Ford Rouge Plant
# Bald Eagle — immature at Ford Rouge Plant
# American Robin — An incredible 700 were found near the Ford proving grounds at Rotunda and Southfield feeding on the berry-laden hawthorns lining the test track. People on other Christmas counts were noting the lack of robins. Apparently, they’re all in Dearborn.
# Yellow-rumped Warbler — a single at Greenfield Village
# Red-winged Blackbird — Blackbirds have also been scarce on southeastern Michigan counts, but 15 were found hanging around with the robin flock.
# Common Redpoll — a single in a flock of American Tree Sparrows on the Dearborn/Allen Park border and 10 with the goldfinch on campus with the goldfinch.
Also recorded were Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, a single Pine Siskin, and White-throated Sparrows.
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