As soon as I stepped out the door this morning, I could feel it. A Rusty Blackbird was on the compost heap. A Brown Creeper inched incongruously up the shingles of the house. And, I quickly realized, every tree, bush, and vine was awash in hundreds, thousands of fluttering, restless shapes. Last night, Metinic Island was invaded by birds.
All day long, waves upon waves of warblers, sparrows, thrushes, kinglets, and woodpeckers sloshed back and forth while we sprinted to keep up the banding station, in sheer awe of the numbers of birds – underfoot, overhead, flocks of hundreds flushing with every step through the brush. Transporting them in soft cotton bags, we were barely able to keep up as more and more birds piled up in the mist nets. In the end, we banded 293 birds today, nearly doubling my biggest mist-netting effort to date. Looks good for another big hit tomorrow, too!