Good news

Not often do we get exceptionally good news from the bird world. But times are changing and let’s hope that it will continue to do so, in the direction it now is, long, long into the future. 
By  the  time  you read this article, the winter break  birdhouse  workshop that I mentioned in my last week’s column will be almost coming to a close; nevertheless the news I received, preparatory to so assembly, was the best I have heard in quite a number of years.
It all came about when I picked up the phone and called a long time acquaintance, David Lamble, who just  happens to be, of near equal time, a local licenced bird bander.
The reason I had called him was to check, as I have for each of the past 22 years, to see how many bluebirds he had banded this last season. And I remember well, as he does, how excited we were the first year that eight baby bluebirds were banded. His immediate reply, to my query was, “I was just going to send you my reporting letter which I send out each year,” So here folks is the good news as it came to me from the one who knows.

Dear sir or madam:
Wow, we did it. For the first time ever, we almost banded 7,000 birds in one year. On top of that we also reached the 100,000 bird total. I would never have believed that I could band that many birds, when I started banding, on my own, in 1981.
We also banded four new species – American Pipit, Common Raven, Lapland Longspur, and Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow. When you add that to the 11 species that we managed new yearly totals, we had a great year. We had  new maximum totals for Downy Woodpecker (38), Eastern Bluebird (544), Hairy Woodpecker (12), Horned Lark (185), Northern Saw-whet Owl (168), Northern Shrike (8), Red-bellied Woodpecker (2), Red-breasted Nuthatch (42), Snow Bunting (571) and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (3).
We also had a number of our previously banded birds captured all over Eastern North America. An Osprey banded at Luther in 2003 apparently nesting south of Algonquin Park. An American Goldfinch banded near Damascus captured alive south of Tobermory. Three Northern Saw-whet Owls banded near Ennotville captured alive, one in Indiana, one in Pennsylvania, and one on the Ontario-Quebec border. Three of our baby Purple Martins banded near Elmira were nesting in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois. We also had 107 of our previously banded Tree Swallows return to our nest boxes – the oldest was 8 years old.
There has been an overall increase in a number of bird species in Dufferin, Waterloo and Wellington Counties that has not been seen in adjacent counties. This is due to so many landowners agreeing that wildlife has a place in our environment and deserves to be protected. For that and all the co-operation I have received, I offer my heartfelt thanks.
Yours truly,
David R. Lamble

So there you have it folks, really good news, direct from the one who knows. It pleases me greatly that the Bluebirds banded have increased from 8 to 544, but let’s not stop there, the Purple Martins, now too, need our help, at the moment there is not a single colony nesting in Wellington County; lets bring them back. They are colony nesters, and their multiple compartment houses are expensive, but if you feel you could sponsor one of these, Please give us a call, we will see that it is erected and properly maintained in a likely location.
Hope to see many of you at one of our many workshops, and watch now too, for a major bat-house workshop coming up soon, in this area. If we work with Mother Nature in an environmentally friendly way, pesticide use will no longer be needed.
Take care, ’cause we care.

Barrie Hopkins