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This news page will publish primarily the weekly reports from our banding operations – plus occasional other items of general interest.

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Banding Report – Week 14 (October 31 – November 6, 2015)

Week 14 (October 31 – November 6, 2015)

 
This American Tree Sparrow was banded at MBO in January 2010, and returned this week for the seventh year in a row! (Photo by Simon Duval)
THIS WEEKTHIS FALL2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded146 (17)3151 (84)4637 (91)57844 (119)
# birds (and species) repeat 36 (9)724 (47)1032 (61)11733 (86)
# birds (and species) return 9 (5)66 (23)192 (34)1864 (51)
# species observed 57151164213
# net hours 478.07093.110583.4113463.7
# birds banded / 100 net hours 30.544.443.750.8

Banders-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants: Michel Beaupré, Nicolas Bernier, Pascal Berthelot, Marc Boisvert, Zoe Bonerbo, Manon Bourdon, Martha Bromby, David Davey, Katelyn Depot, Marcel Gahbauer, Shannon Gailbraith, Michel Greaves, Alison Hackney, Lorenzo Kleine, Marcel Lebeau, Asya Malinova, Betsy McFarlane, Phillip Mercier, Laura Molina, Paule Schetagne, Jillian Slater, Clémence Soulard, Patricia Stotland, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman, Christiane Tremblay, François Villeneuve, Jesse White

Notes: Last year marked the first time that a 14th week was added to the fall season on a trial basis, recognizing that some of our late season migrants are still moving in large numbers at the end of October and into early November. Given the success of last year’s extension, it was repeated this year. As hoped, we had a couple of good mornings this week, but on the whole witnessed migration tapering off. Species diversity was impressive, with a count of 40 or 41 observed on four mornings this week, and a total of 57. However, on three mornings a dozen or fewer birds were banded. Even with the extra week, the number of birds banded this fall remained below average compared to previous years.

A great way to wrap up fall 2015, with the tenth Pileated Woodpecker in MBO’s 11-year history (Photo by Simon Duval)

The aim of Week 14 is to more truly capture the end of fall migration. It was therefore reassuring to have relatively few “new” species this week, with only Pileated Woodpecker added to the list of species banded this fall (and this year), while Rough-legged Hawk and Common Redpoll were new observations for the season.

This week’s top 10 [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
 1.  American Robin (52) [1] 1.  Canada Goose (612) [4]
 2. American Goldfinch (22) [-] 2. American Robin (570) [1]
 3. American Tree Sparrow (18) [2] 3. European Starling (481) [2]
 4. Northern Cardinal (12) [4] 4. Red-winged Blackbird (189) [3]
 5. White-throated Sparrow (8) [3] 5. Common Grackle (115) [5]
 5. Slate-colored Junco (8) [4] 6. American Crow (58) [6]
 7. Golden-crowned Kinglet (7) [-] 7. Mourning Dove (27) [10]
 8. Red-winged Blackbird (5) [-] 8. Horned Lark (21) [-]
 9. Black-capped Chickadee (3) [10 9. American Goldfinch (18) [-]
 10. Brown Creeper (2) [-]
10. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2) [4]
10. Purple Finch (2) [9]
 10. Black-capped Chickadee (15) [-]

Not surprisingly, American Robin remained the top species banded this week, and by a large margin; the season total of 263 ranked second behind only White-throated Sparrow, which with this week’s additions ended up at 326. American Goldfinches returned in numbers this week, enough to reach second place for the week, and ninth for the season. American Tree Sparrow rounded out the top three with a slow but steady presence. The biggest surprise this week was Northern Cardinal, with another dozen banded on top of the 24 earlier in the season, which was already a record. This suggests there was a strong late fall dispersal, something possibly missed in earlier years without full coverage of this week. Despite the season extension, Slate-colored Junco numbers remained low, confirming our suspicion this is a low year for the species. Both kinglets were still around in small numbers this week, and we also banded a modest number of Red-winged Blackbirds and Black-capped Chickadees, plus a couple of Brown Creepers and Purple Finches.

Among species observed, Canada Goose rebounded to top spot this week, narrowly ahead of American Robin. The next five species remained in the same order as last week, although with some minor shifts in abundance. Mourning Dove numbers continued to rise, and reached the second-highest weekly average in MBO’s history. Even more remarkable though was the strong flight of Horned Larks, with more individuals counted this week than in the first ten years of MBO’s history combined! Rounding out the final top ten of fall are two more regular species that had dropped just outside the top ten last week, Black-capped Chickadee and American Goldfinch.

This week also marked the end of our six-week owl banding season. While most other saw-whet owl banders in northeastern provinces and states have been reporting below average counts this fall, the 272 individuals banded at MBO this season is a record for the site, far more than the 235 banded during the same period in 2012. In particular, the final week of the season was unusually productive, with 29 banded this week, compared to a previous record of 16 and a mean of 12 during this period over the past five years. We ended up with 55% hatch-year birds (a far lower percentage than in most “boom” years) and 31% second-year individuals.

We now shift to winter operations until the end of March, with periodic monitoring as weather permits. We will also use this time to complete our report on the first ten years of MBO, as well as the 2015 annual report – watch for announcements as these are published!

One of this year’s record-breaking 272 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded at MBO (Photo by Simon Duval)

 

Weekly Report – Fall 2015 Week 13

Week 13 (October 24-30, 2015)

 
This marked the seventh time in 11 years that a single Northern Shrike was banded in week 13; for a change, this one was an adult (Photo by Simon Duval)
THIS WEEKTHIS FALL2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded 208 (24)3005 (83)4491 (90)57698 (119)
# birds (and species) repeat 36 (10)688 (47)996 (61)11697 (86)
# birds (and species) return 3 (3)57 (21)183 (34)1855 (51)
# species observed 62149164213
# net hours 526.26615.110105.4112905.7
# birds banded / 100 net hours 39.545.444.450.9

Banders-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants: Michel Beaupré, Nicolas Bernier, Pascal Berthelot, Marc Boisvert, Manon Bourdon, Alexander Boyer, Martha Bromby, Luke Currin, David Davey, Dominique Dufault, Alison Hackney, Lisa Keelty, Lorenzo Kleine, Marcel Lebeau, Barbara MacDuff, Asya Malinova, Francine Marcoux, Betsy McFarlane, Phillip Mercier, Emma Nip, Catherine Russell, Paule Schetagne, Clémence Soulard, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman, Christiane Tremblay, François Villeneuve

Notes: Week 13 has traditionally been the end of our Fall Migration Monitoring Program, going back to our first full season in 2005. However, in recent years it has become apparent that the tail end of migration for some of our priority species (e.g., American Tree Sparrow, Slate-colored Junco, Fox Sparrow) is increasingly often carrying over into early November, and as such, stopping on October 30 leaves us with an incomplete picture of their numbers. Because of that, we tested out an “informal” extra week last fall, and this year will be including week 14 as an official part of the season. All the same, the totals as of this week are of particular interest with respect to comparing results with previous seasons.

As has been the case for much of this fall, the number of birds banded this week was a bit below average, but in this case just enough to lift our total past the 3000-bird threshold. Even so, it is the third-lowest season total, ahead of only 2011 (2792) and 2007 (2877) – and when considering birds banded per 100 net hours, this fall (45.4) is only marginally ahead of the low point of 43.7 in 2011. On the other hand, the number of species banded in fall has tended to be quite consistent (between 74 and 78 in nine of ten previous years), so the 83 this season (second only to 86 in 2012) was a pleasant surprise. Similarly, the number of species observed for the season (149) is above average, as were the 62 species this week. Once the season wraps up after week 14, we will review our data in greater detail as part of the preparation of our annual report on MBO activities.

One of the 117 American Robins banded this week (Photo by Simon Duval)

As noted last week, late fall still brings us a number of “new” birds. This week we banded Northern Shrike (the first for 2015), European Starling, and Red-winged Blackbird for the first time this fall – the latter two species coming on the final day! The shrike was also observed for the first time this fall, as were Snow Goose, Common Merganser, and Rough-legged Hawk. The hawk also waited until the very last morning to show up, and was our first for 2015 overall.

This week’s top 10 [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
 1.  American Robin (117) [1] 1.  American Robin (630) [1]
 2. American Tree Sparrow (20) [6] 2. European Starling (281) [5]
 3. White-throated Sparrow (15) [2] 3. Red-winged Blackbird (185) [2]
 4. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (6) [3] 4. Canada Goose (155) [3]
 4. Northern Cardinal (6) [-] 5. Common Grackle (99) [4]
 4. Slate-colored Junco (6) [8] 6. American Crow (49) [7]
 7. Hermit Thrush (5) [5] 7. Snow Goose (43) [-]
 7. Fox Sparrow (5) [9] 8. White-throated Sparrow (27) [6]
 9. Purple Finch (4) [-] 9. Ring-billed Gull (22) [-]
 10. Black-capped Chickadee (3) [-]
10. Song Sparrow (3) [7]
10. Swamp Sparrow (3) [9]
 10. Mourning Dove (17) [-]

Sure enough, the late fall influx of American Robins hit us with full force this week, with 117 individuals banded, almost six times as many as the runner-up (American Tree Sparrow). While that tally is just short of the week 13 record of 125 American Robins banded, the relatively low numbers in previous weeks leaves the season total to date at 211, slightly below the ten-year mean of 227 for fall. For American Tree Sparrow, both this week’s count and the season total of 29 are below average. White-throated Sparrow finished the traditional 13-week season with an above-average weekly total, but even so the season total is 318, below the long-term mean of 342. Even so, White-throated Sparrow was banded more than any other species this fall, followed by Ruby-crowned Kinglet (in fourth place this week, with a season total of 255), Northern Saw-whet Owl (245 – see below for more details), and American Robin. In a season with many lows, Northern Cardinal stands out as a happy exception, with a season total of 24 after this week’s influx, topping the previous high of 21 set in 2012. Rounding out the three-way tie for fourth place this week was Slate-colored Junco with a meager 6 individuals, for a season total to date of 66. Although this is far below the ten-year mean of 202, it is consistent with low counts in the past two “odd” years (58 banded in 2011 and 60 in 2013). Keeping with the theme of sparrows in low numbers, Fox Sparrows were banded this week in roughly half their normal abundance, and the 9 banded this fall is the fewest since 5 in 2011. Tied with Fox Sparrow was Hermit Thrush; it too has a season total (34) that is the lowest since 2011. Wrapping up the sparrow discussion, the season total for Song Sparrow (146) rebounded slightly from last year’s record low, while this week’s Swamp Sparrows brought the total up to only 24, the fewest since 20 in 2010. But to wrap up on a more positive note, the season total for Black-capped Chickadee (47) was fairly typical for a non-irruption year, and the continuing migration of Purple Finches has added up to 33 for the season, far more than usual, and only behind the high count of 44 in 2012.

As with the banding results, American Robin dominated observations this week by a wide margin. The mean daily count of 630 this week was second only to the record high of 776 last year at this time; daily totals ranged from a low (!) of 450 to a high of just more than 800. The other species in the top five are the same as last week, although shuffled up a bit; all were also present in large numbers, and most often observed as large flocks passing overhead (in the case of the songbirds, sometimes stopping to perch in some of the taller trees on site). All of these species are typically dominant in week 13, although in every previous year American Crow was among the top five. This fall crow numbers have been below average, and the count this week was only enough to reach sixth place. Snow Geese were on the move early enough this year to get captured in our week 13 results; some years they do not pass by until November (another species that may be documented better by extending to week 14). White-throated Sparrows have been becoming increasingly common in late October, and this week’s mean daily count of 27 individuals is the highest ever for this period. Ring-billed Gull numbers were above average this week, while the count of Mourning Doves was by far the highest of the season, and nearly double the ten-year mean for week 13, although below the record high mean daily count of 36 in this week in 2005.

As for the owl banding program, it continued well again this week. The 29 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded this week was remarkably close to the 30 banded in this period in 2011, 2012, and 2014! However, this year’s total is now up to 243 (245 if counting the two banded as part of daytime operations), breaking the record of 235 banded in 2012. Curiously though we have caught only three foreign-banded owls this fall, roughly one-third as many as we would expect based on previous experience (prior to this season, they represented 3.6% of our captures; this fall just 1.2%).

American Goldfinch numbers were up and down over the course of the season; this was the 71st individual banded this fall, which is slightly more than the ten-year mean of 61 for the season (Photo by Simon Duval)

 

Fall 2015 Reports – Weeks 11 and 12

Week 11 (October 10-16, 2015)

 
[The banding highlight of the week was this Bicknell’s Thrush, only the sixth one ever banded at MBO (Photo by Simon Duval)

]

THIS WEEKTHIS FALL2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded 300 (25) 2638 (76)4124 (87)57331 (119)
# birds (and species) repeat 67 (11)600 (44)908 (61)11609 (86)
# birds (and species) return 2 (2)53 (20)179 (34)1851 (51)
# species observed 74141162213
# net hours 493.55633.99124.2112004.5
# birds banded / 100 net hours60.846.845.151.0

Banders-in-charge: Simon Duval, Marcel Gahbauer
Assistants: Nicolas Bernier, Pascal Berthelot, Zoe Bonerbo, Manon Bourdon, Martha Bromby, Luke Currin, David Davey, Stéfany Desroches, Dominique Dufault, Kyle Elliott, Shannon Gailbraith, Nicole Guido, Mélanie Guigueno, Alison Hackney, Lisa Keelty, Lorenzo Kleine, Marcel Lebeau, Barbara MacDuff, Don MacDuff, Asya Malinova, Francine Marcoux, Betsy McFarlane, Phillip Mercier, Laura Molina, Catherine Russell, Clémence Soulard, Patricia Stotland, Rodger Titman, Christiane Tremblay, François Villeneuve, Jesse White

Notes: Migration this week continued at a similar pace to week 10 – in other words, numbers were a bit above average for this fall, but somewhat lower than long-term means for the period. The 2638 birds banded so far this season is more than at this point in 2007 or 2011, but lower than all other years. It is perhaps too early to draw conclusions, but intriguing to note that a four-year pattern is starting to appear with respect to these fall lows. Again though, diversity remained above average, with the 74 species observed this week just one below the record set for week 11 last year, and 141 species for the season only two short of the record pace of 143 at this point both last year and in 2013. Temperatures were again above normal for much of this week, most notably with a record high of 25 Celsius on Thanksgiving day.

lthough a year-round resident at MBO, White-breasted Nuthatches are only occasionally banded; this week was only the second time in MBO’s history that two were banded in a single week (Photo by Simon Duval)

It was a good week at MBO for uncommon to rare birds. The Bicknell’s Thrush banded this week was our first of 2015, and in fact the first observation of this species at MBO since the first week of October 2012. We recaptured it a couple of days later, marking the first ever repeat of this species at MBO. We also observed and banded our first Yellow Palm Warbler of the year this week, and observed Eastern Screech-Owl during the daytime operations of the Fall Migration Monitoring Program for just the fifth time in 11 years. The Evening Grosbeak observation this week was the first in nearly two years. But as noteworthy as all of those was the Blue Jay that we recaptured on Thanksgiving morning – and upon checking our database realized it had been banded more than 11 years earlier! In fact, it was among the first 100 birds banded at MBO during our pilot season in September 2004; it was recaptured again that November, but not recorded since, so this was a remarkable rediscovery.

This week’s top 10 [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
 1.  White-throated Sparrow (88) [2] 1.  Canada Goose (195) [1]
 2. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (85) [1] 2. American Robin (143) [4]
 3. Yellow-rumped Warbler (18) [3] 3. Common Grackle (121) [3]
 4. American Robin (16) [6] 4. Red-winged Blackbird (108) [5]
 5. Slate-colored Junco (12) [4] 5. White-throated Sparrow (70) [6]
 5. American Goldfinch (12) [-] 6. American Crow (60) [8]
 7. Hermit Thrush (11) [-] 7. European Starling (53) [2]
 8. Golden-crowned Kinglet (8) [7 8. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (36) [7]
 8. Purple Finch (8) [8] 9. Blue Jay (26) [9]
10. Black-capped Chickadee (5) [-]
10. Orange-crowned Warbler (5) [-]
10. Song Sparrow (5) [5]
 10. Black-capped Chickadee (17) [-]

White-throated Sparrow and Ruby-crowned Kinglet swapped positions this week at the top of the list of birds banded, but both were far more abundant than any other species. This is the second year in a row that White-throated Sparrow has topped the week 11 list; the previous three years it ranked second, and prior to that it was never higher than fifth! Ruby-crowned Kinglet has been more consistent over time, among the top three in week 11 every year except 2008 (fourth) and 2010 (seventh). Despite good counts over the past two weeks, both species are still below average for the season. Yellow-rumped Warbler migration is nearing its end, but there were enough this week to crack the top three even though the season total to date of 57 suggests this will be the poorest fall migration for the species at MBO. Continuing the theme, American Robin was in fourth place this week, bringing the season total to 47 banded, well below the long-term average of 85 by this point in the season. Junco numbers slipped slightly from last week, but we suspect more are yet to come. American Goldfinches have been erratic this fall; this marks the first time ever they have been in the top ten during week 11. This is the traditional peak of Hermit Thrush migration, but the 11 banded this week was the third-lowest total ever for this week, and the season total to date is less than half the long-term mean. Golden-crowned Kinglets were again far scarcer than Ruby-crowned, heading toward the lowest fall banding total since 2009; tied with them in eighth place was Purple Finch, with a surprisingly strong showing for a second week in a row. Rounding out the top ten was an eclectic three-way tie, with two common late season species (Black-capped Chickadee and Song Sparrow), and one that has only been in the top ten for the week once previously (Orange-crowned Warbler, in 2006); this was only the third time ever that 5 or more Orange-crowned Warblers were banded in a single week at MBO.

Among species observed, results were relatively similar to last week, with nine of the same species dominating, while Black-capped Chickadee replaced Yellow-rumped Warbler in tenth place. Canada Goose numbers declined by more than half compared to week 10, but were still high enough to take first place in week 11 for the third year in a row, and sixth out of 11. In four of the other years, the top bird has been American Robin, which was second this week, with numbers building in advance of the traditional late October peak. Mixed blackbird flocks remained common this week, with Red-winged Blackbird and Common Grackle both in the top four, sometimes joined by European Starlings. White-throated Sparrows were present in almost the same numbers as last week, but shifted up one place in the rankings; conversely Ruby-crowned Kinglet numbers tapered off slightly and they dropped one spot. Remarkably, Blue Jay numbers remained high for yet another week.

On the owling front, it was another productive week, with another 55 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded. The biggest movement was on the night of October 14, with 24 individuals – the busiest night of the season so far, and the fourth highest single-night total in MBO’s history (behind 25 on October 5, 2011, and 30 on both October 22, 2011 and October 16, 2012). The season total to date is up to 107, second to only the record high season in 2012. There was one more foreign recapture this week, banded in early October 2014 at Innis Point Bird Observatory in Ottawa, roughly 200 km west along the Ottawa River.

Five Northern Saw-whet Owls, as part of our busy night on October 14 (Photo by Simon Duval)


Week 12 (October 17-23, 2015)

 
Although Mourning Dove is a year-round resident at MBO and particularly common in October, this is only the second one banded in the 11-year history of the Fall Migration Monitoring Program (Photo by Simon Duval)
THIS WEEKTHIS FALL2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded 159 (20)2797 (80)4283 (89)57490 (119)
# birds (and species) repeat 49 (10)649 (46)957 (61)11658 (86)
# birds (and species) return 1 (1)54 (20)180 (34)1852 (51)
# species observed 66145163213
# net hours 455.06088.99579.2112459.5
# birds banded / 100 net hours 34.945.944.651.0

Banders-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants: Nicolas Bernier, Pascal Berthelot, Marc Boisvert, Martha Bromby, Luc Coupal, Luke Currin, David Davey, Jean Demers, Katelyn Depot, Kyle Elliott, Shannon Gailbraith, Mélanie Guigueno, Alison Hackney, Lisa Keelty, Lorenzo Kleine, Helen Kohler, Marcel Lebeau, Barbara MacDuff, Asya Malinova, Betsy McFarlane, Phillip Mercier, Emma Nip, Catherine Russell, Clémence Soulard, Patricia Stotland, Rodger Titman, Christiane Tremblay, François Villeneuve

Notes: Befitting an unusually quiet fall migration, results for week 12 were close to record lows. The total of 159 birds banded this week was only slightly more than the record low of 139 for the period in 2011, and the season total of 2797 is not far ahead of the low of 2646 at the same point in 2011; unless numbers pick up in week 13, this will mark just the third time in 11 years that the season total falls short of 3000 individuals banded. On the other hand, diversity has been particularly high this fall, as this is just the second time the 80-species threshold has been reached for the season. Similarly, the 66 species observed this week was a new record high for week 12, although the count of 145 for the season is a bit behind the high of 148 at this point in the season in 2005. Weather was largely more seasonal this week, and one day was lost to rain, although effort on the whole was still above average for week 12.

Both of these sparrows were banded this week for the first time this fall; this comparison shows just how much bigger Fox Sparrows are than American Tree Sparrows (Photo by Simon Duval)

One of the inherent contradictions about late fall is that while migration is slowing down overall, we usually get an influx of “new” species for the season. That held true this week both for species observed and banded. The first Horned Lark of 2015 was seen this week, while Red-bellied Woodpecker, Bohemian Waxwing, and American Tree Sparrow were new for fall. It was the latest ever fall arrival date for American Tree Sparrow, while Bohemian Waxwing has not been observed in fall since 2012. For the third time in five years, a Northern Saw-whet Owl was banded as part of the morning banding activities, presumably a bird that came in during the night but was not captured during the owl banding efforts. Mourning Dove was also banded for the first time in 2015, while American Tree Sparrow and Fox Sparrow were banded for the first time this fall.

This week’s top 10 [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
 1.  American Robin (47) [4] 1.  American Robin (241) [2]
 2. White-throated Sparrow (23) [1] 2. Red-winged Blackbird (134) [4]
 3. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (17) [2] 3. Canada Goose (68) [1]
 4. Golden-crowned Kinglet (12) [8] 4. Common Grackle (52) [3]
 5. Hermit Thrush (11) [7] 5. European Starling (49) [7]
 6. American Tree Sparrow (9) [-] 6. White-throated Sparrow (39) [5]
 7. Song Sparrow (8) [10] 7. American Crow (34) [6]
 8. Slate-colored Junco (6) [5] 8. Blue Jay (23) [9]
 9. Swamp Sparrow (4) [-] 9. Slate-colored Junco (19) [-]
 9. Fox Sparrow (4) [-] 10. Black-capped Chickadee (14) [10]

American Robin was the top species banded in week 12, for the sixth time in 11 years, even though the number banded was well below the mean of 80 for this period. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were also close to half as numerous as usual (ten-year mean of 33 banded in week 12), but White-throated Sparrows and Golden-crowned Kinglets were marginally above average. We banded 11 Hermit Thrushes for a second week in a row, but the season total remains lower than normal. In an unusual occurrence, the bottom half of the ten comprises nothing but sparrows. Reflecting the overall low numbers this week, all of them except Swamp Sparrow were banded in below average quantities, most notably Slate-colored Junco (ten-year mean of 55 individuals in week 12).

What happened to the geese? That was one of the most notable changes among birds observed this week, with Canada Goose falling out of the top spot, and the mean daily count of 68 lower than ever before for week 12. Instead, American Robin took over as the dominant species, topping the list in week 12 for the fourth time in 11 years. Red-winged Blackbird was the runner-up, and has now been in the top three at this time of year for ten years in a row. Rounding out the top five were Common Grackle and European Starling, both common in late fall. White-throated Sparrow numbers declined compared to last week, but remained higher than in any previous week 12 except for 2014. Among the corvids there are opposing records – the mean daily count of American Crow was far below the previous low of 53 in 2013, while the mean daily count of Blue Jay was above the previous high of 18 in 2011. The mean daily count of Slate-colored Juncos has surprisingly high, considering how few were banded this week; Black-capped Chickadee completed the top ten with somewhat below normal numbers.

In more positive news, it was a remarkable week for the owl banding program, with 107 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded – shattering the previous single-week record of 75 (October 3-9, 2011). This week’s tally perfectly doubled the season total; the 214 individuals banded to date is one ahead of the record pace in 2012. No doubt this marks the highest ratio ever of owls to songbirds banded in a single week! In addition, one foreign-banded owl was captured this week, but no details are available yet as to where it was banded.

Like many boreal species, Winter Wrens have been scarcer than usual this fall; this was one of three banded this week, among a season total to just five (Photo by Simon Duval)

Fall banding report – week 10 2015

Week 10 (October 3-9, 2015)

 
[

 It was a great week at MBO for Purple Finches, with 8 individuals banded, the most for a single week since fall 2012 (Photo by Simon Duval)

It was a great week at MBO for Purple Finches, with 8 individuals banded, the most for a single week since fall 2012 (Photo by Simon Duval)

]

THIS WEEKTHIS FALL2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded352 (28)2338 (75)3824 (86)57013 (119)
# birds (and species) repeat 80 (14)533 (43)841 (60)11542 (85)
# birds (and species) return 2 (2)51 (19)177 (34)1849 (51)
# species observed 74137159213
# net hours 476.05140.48630.711511.0
# birds banded / 100 net hours 73.945.544.251.0

Bander-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner.

Assistants: Pascal Berthelot, Marc Boisvert, Zoe Bonerbo, Manon Bourdon, Alexander Boyer, Martha Bromby, Luke Currin, David Davey, Jean Demers, Katelyn Depot, Stéfany Desroches, Steve Dumont, Shannon Gailbraith, Alison Hackney, Lisa Keelty, Lorenzo Kleine, Marcel Lebeau, Barbara MacDuff, Francine Marcoux, Betsy McFarlane, Phillip Mercier, Anita Morales, Clémence Soulard, Rodger Titman, Christiane Tremblay, Jesse White.

Notes:  After a record-quiet week 9, we were pleased to see migration pick up somewhat this week. Granted, the 352 birds banded is still somewhat below average for the period, it was more than twice as many as last week, and actually better than last year at the same time. The season total to date, however, remains the lowest since 2007, and it seems unlikely at this point that the pace of migration is going to change significantly over the final few weeks of fall. In terms of observations it was a somewhat above average week, with 74 species observed, bringing the season total to 137, a bit above the long-term average for week 10..

The highlight of the week was this Sandhill Crane flying over MBO, seemingly being escorted by a Cooper’s Hawk. It was only the fourth Sandhill Crane observed at MBO in 11 years, although the second sighting for 2015 (Photo by Simon Duval)

The highlight of the week was this Sandhill Crane flying over MBO, seemingly being escorted by a Cooper’s Hawk. It was only the fourth Sandhill Crane observed at MBO in 11 years, although the second sighting for 2015 (Photo by Simon Duval)

Although the fall banding list received no new additions this week, it was a productive period for observations, with three species new for the year (Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, plus Northern Saw-whet Owl), and three more for this fall (Sandhill Crane, Eastern Bluebird, and Field Sparrow). We also added two species to our list of returns for 2015 – White-breasted Nuthatch and Nashville Warbler.

This week’s top 10 [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
 1.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (116) [3] 1.  Canada Goose (476) [1]
 2. White-throated Sparrow (88) [1 2. European Starling (317) [6]
 3. Yellow-rumped Warbler (24) [5] 3. Common Grackle (187) [-]
 4. Slate-colored Junco (23) [4] 4. American Robin (89) [5]
 5. Song Sparrow (21) [9] 5. Red-winged Blackbird (82) [8]
 6. American Robin (15) [-] 6. White-throated Sparrow (68) [4]
 7. Golden-crowned Kinglet (10) [8] 7. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (45) [-]
8. Purple Finch (8) [-] 8. American Crow (45) [3]
 9. Swainson’s Thrush (6) [6 9. Blue Jay (30) [2]
 9.  White-crowned Sparrow (6) [-] 10. Yellow-rumped Warbler (26) [9]

As the table above clearly indicates, this week’s banding totals were largely driven by two species. Week 10 is the traditional peak of migration for both Ruby-crowned Kinglet and White-throated Sparrow, and both showed up in close to average numbers this year. The 116 kinglets banded was just one more than the average of 115 during week 10 over the previous ten years, while the sparrows were 10% above the long-term average of 80 banded in week 10. The next tier of abundance this week was shared by Yellow-rumped Warbler, Slate-colored Junco, and Song Sparrow, all also commonly among the top ten in week 10 (11 years straight in the top five for the warbler, 11 in the top ten for the sparrow, and 10 in the top ten for the junco). American Robin is only sometimes in the top ten this early in October, so perhaps this is an omen of oncoming numbers. Despite a strong start to the season, Golden-crowned Kinglet numbers are now somewhat lower than normal. On the other hand, the 8 Purple Finches banded this week is the fourth highest weekly total in MBO’s history (the three higher counts were all in fall 2012). This year’s remarkably strong Swainson’s Thrush migration is tapering off further, but another 6 were banded this year, bringing the season total to 171 (just a bit short of the record of 176 in 2012, but already more than quadruple the long-term fall mean total of 38). Although White-crowned Sparrow squeaked into the top ten, the count this week was less than half the long-term mean of 16 for week 10, and overall the species has seemed unusually scarce so far this fall.

Canada Goose numbers increased further this week, remaining the most abundant bird observed this week (as has been the case in week 10 every year except for 2012). Aside from them, black birds featured prominently, with European Starling, Common Grackle, and Red-winged Blackbird all among this week’s top five, and American Crow farther down the top ten. Most years one of the three smaller species is among the top five; only three times previously were two of them that abundant in the same year, and this marks the first time all three of them were that numerous at the same time. American Robin numbers are always building by this point in October, and the mean daily count this week of 89 was just a bit below average, with the range over the past ten years for week 10 being 62 to 154. The count of White-throated Sparrows this week was also very close to typical (68, compared to a ten-year mean of 71 per day during week 10), as was the case for Ruby-crowned Kinglet (45 vs. 44). Blue Jay migration remains strong, and we had a decent movement of Yellow-rumped Warblers, although certainly nothing like in some past years.

As for owling, it was a productive week, with 47 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded, well above the mean of 33 for this period over the past six years. The first night of the week was the only one without any captures; on all other nights at least three owls were banded, with a high of 19 on the night of October 7. Surprisingly given the number of owls banded this week there were no foreign recaptures, but we expect that with the peak of the season yet to come, there will be others to report soon.

As with a number of other northern species, we are seeing a higher than usual proportion of adult White-throated Sparrows this fall, suggesting that breeding success was lower than normal (Photo by Simon Duval)

As with a number of other northern species, we are seeing a higher than usual proportion of adult White-throated Sparrows this fall, suggesting that breeding success was lower than normal (Photo by Simon Duval)

Fall Banding Report – Week 9

Week 9 (September 26 – October 2, 2015)

 
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The arrival of the first Orange-crowned Warbler of fall on September 30 matched the record late date established in 2008; this individual (possibly the same bird) was banded the next morning (Photo by Simon Duval)

The arrival of the first Orange-crowned Warbler of fall on September 30 matched the record late date established in 2008; this individual (possibly the same bird) was banded the next morning (Photo by Simon Duval)

]

THIS WEEKTHIS FALL2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded174 (34)1986 (75) 3472 (86)56679 (119)
# birds (and species) repeat 39 (11)453 (37)761 (57)11462 (85)
# birds (and species) return 2 (2)49 917)175 (32)1847 (51)
# species observed 77131156213
# net hours 486.04664.48154.7111035.0
# birds banded / 100 net hours 35.842.642.550.9

Bander-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner.

Assistants: Angelika Aleksieva, Pascal Berthelot, Zoe Bonerbo, Alexander Boyer, Martha Bromby, Mathieu Charette, Luke Currin, David Davey, Jean Demers, Steve Dumont, Marcel Gahbauer, Shannon Gailbraith, Nicole Guido, Alison Hackney, Lisa Keelty, Marcel Lebeau, Barbara MacDuff, Asya Malinova, Francine Marcoux, Betsy McFarlane, Phillip Mercier, Emma Nip, Catherine Russell, Clémence Soulard, Patricia Stotland, Natalie Thimot, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman, Christiane Tremblay, François Villeneuve.

Notes:  Week 9 at MBO this year was most unusual. Although a few of the trees on the forested slopes overlooking MBO are finally showing patches of yellow, the limited advance of fall colours is even more conspicuous than last week. Meanwhile, it almost seems as if the birds are waiting for that change to progress, as the count of birds banded this week (174) was a record low for the period, and by a long shot at that (the previous low was 263 in 2015, while the record high was 1112 in 2008 and the mean over the past decade was 530); windy conditions for much of the week no doubt had some effect on driving the capture rate to its lowest level ever for week 9. The 77 species observed this week is lower than has been the norm for week 9 over the past four years, but close to the long-term mean at this point in fall..

With near-record numbers of Swainson’s Thrushes migrating through MBO this fall, we are curious to see whether Hermit Thrushes will show a similar spike, now that their migration period is beginning (Photo by Simon Duval)

With near-record numbers of Swainson’s Thrushes migrating through MBO this fall, we are curious to see whether Hermit Thrushes will show a similar spike, now that their migration period is beginning (Photo by Simon Duval)

Three species banded this week were new for fall 2015 – Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, and Orange-crowned Warbler; the wren and warbler were both new for the entire year in fact. As well, four species were observed for the first time this season – Cackling Goose, Hermit Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Fox Sparrow; only the goose was new for the year.

This week’s top 10 [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
 1.  White-throated Sparrow (51) [3] 1.  Canada Goose (319) [1]
 2. Blue Jay (16) [8] 2. Blue Jay (65) [2]
 3. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (14) [10] 3. American Crow (47) [3]
 4. Slate-colored Junco (13) [-] 4. White-throated Sparrow (46) [4]
 5. Yellow-rumped Warbler (10) [-] 5. American Robin (33) [5]
 6. Swainson’s Thrush (9) [1] 6. European Starling (22) [8]
 7. Gray Catbird (8) [6] 7. Black-capped Chickadee (20) [6]
 8. Golden-crowned Kinglet (7) [4] 8. Red-winged Blackbird (19) [10]
 9. Song Sparrow (5) [7] 9. Yellow-rumped Warbler (17) [7]
 10. Black-throated Blue Warbler (4) [-]
10. Indigo Bunting (4) [-]
 9. American Goldfinch (17) [-]

More than three times as many White-throated Sparrows were banded this week than any other species, and this marked the seventh time in 11 years that the species was the most banded in week 9. However, reflecting the overall low numbers this week, the 51 White-throated Sparrows banded is just barely ahead of the record low for week 9 (49 individuals in 2011). Conversely, the 16 Blue Jays banded was behind only last year’s record high count of 23 in week 9. The most notable result this week was the low number of Ruby-crowned Kinglets – fewer than one-third as many as the previous record of 45 set in 2007 and matched in 2009 and 2014. Similarly, the 10 Yellow-rumped Warblers banded this week was a record low for week 9. However, Slate-colored Juncos are appearing on schedule in typical numbers, and although the Swainson’s Thrush migration is finally nearing its end, the number banded this week remained well above average. Among the rest of the top ten, the most interesting results were the two “blue birds” tied for tenth place – Black-throated Blue Warbler and Indigo Bunting.

In a rare event, the top five species observed this week were all the same as last week, although for each of them the mean daily count increased compared to week 8. As in every previous year, Canada Goose was the most numerous species during week 9. The count of Blue Jays was well above average, matching the number observed in 2012, but below the high mean daily count of 94 in 2010. Our observations are consistent with reports of large counts of Blue Jays migrating through southern Ontario – more than 10,000 per day in some locations along Lake Erie! Most notable among the other species was Yellow-rumped Warbler, which remained among the top ten species observed this week even though relatively few were banded, reflecting that persistent winds through much of the week likely affected banding rates.

Last but not least, this week marked the start of our six-week owl banding season, with effort scheduled nightly (weather permitting). As expected, the early results were modest, with 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls banded, plus a recapture of an individual banded in South Hadley, Massachusetts in fall 2013, and now three years old.

The number of Indigo Buntings observed and banded this week was above average, and included this nicely marked after-hatch-year male (Photo by Simon Duval)

The number of Indigo Buntings observed and banded this week was above average, and included this nicely marked after-hatch-year male (Photo by Simon Duval)

 

Banding report

Week 8 (September 19-25, 2015)

 
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The first Yellow-billed Cuckoo banded at MBO in nearly ten years, and just the second overall, this was unquestionably the banding highlight of the week, and probably of this season (Photo by Simon Duval)

The first Yellow-billed Cuckoo banded at MBO in nearly ten years, and just the second overall, this was unquestionably the banding highlight of the week, and probably of this season (Photo by Simon Duval)

]

THIS WEEKTHIS FALL2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded307 (41)1812 (72)3298 (84)56505 (119)
# birds (and species) repeat 67 (17)414 (36)722 (56)11423 (85)
# birds (and species) return 3 (2)47 (16)173 (32)1845 (51)
# species observed 78127155213
# net hours 560.0417847668.7110549.0
# birds banded / 100 net hours 54.843.442.951.0

Bander-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner

Assistants:  Michel Beaupré, Nicolas Bernier, Pascal Berthelot, Marc Boisvert, Zoe Bonerbo, Manon Bourdon, Alexander Boyer, Martha Bromby, Mathieu Charette, Claude Cloutier, David Davey, Jean Demers, Kyle Elliott, Marcel Gahbauer, Nicole Guido, Mélanie Guigueno, Alison Hackney, Diane Hamill, Lisa Keelty, Tom Kingsbury, Marcel Lebeau, Barbara MacDuff, Francine Marcoux, Betsy McFarlane, Phillip Mercier, Laura Molina, Benoît Piquette, Clémence Soulard, Patricia Stotland, Rodger Titman, Christiane Tremblay, Jesse White

Notes: Although we are into the second half of this year’s Fall Migration Monitoring Program, it was only this week that the calendar officially turned over to fall. However, with the largely continuing mild weather, especially at night, there remains only the slightest hint of fall colours on most of the trees at MBO. Despite this, there was a noticeable shift this week in birds observed and banded, reflecting the advancing season. The number of birds banded daily slowed down to 23-30 on the four warmest days in the middle of the week, but there were higher volumes at the beginning and end of week 8, resulting in a total of 307 that is marginally above average for the period, if the exceptional count of 1279 from 2010 is omitted from the calculation. As has been the case in recent weeks, the number of species observed was again somewhat below average despite good observer effort.

While Eastern Phoebe is a common species at MBO, this individual was unique, perching on chairs, approaching observers, and even taking buckthorn berries from the hand a couple of times! It hung around the observation area just outside the cabin for the final three days of the week (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)

While Eastern Phoebe is a common species at MBO, this individual was unique, perching on chairs, approaching observers, and even taking buckthorn berries from the hand a couple of times! It hung around the observation area just outside the cabin for the final three days of the week (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)

This week no species were observed for the first time in 2015, but White-crowned Sparrow, Slate-colored Junco, and Brown-headed Cowbird were new for this fall. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo was the first one banded in 2015, while we also banded our first Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-crowned Sparrow, and Slate-colored Junco of fall.

This week’s top 10 [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
 1.  Swainson’s Thrush (56) [1] 1.  Canada Goose (260) [8]
 2. Magnolia Warbler (37) [2] 2. Blue Jay (35) [5]
 3. White-throated Sparrow (25) [5] 3. American Crow (34) [1]
 4. Golden-crowned Kinglet (18) [-] 4. White-throated Sparrow (32) [3]
 5. Red-eyed Vireo (14) [4] 5. American Robin (17) [-]
 6. Gray Catbird (13) [9] 6. Black-capped Chickadee (16) [6]
 7. Song Sparrow (12) [9] 7. American Goldfinch (16) [2]
 8. Blue Jay (11) [-] 8. European Starling (14) [-]
 8. Tennessee Warbler (11) [3] 9. Swainson’s Thrush (13) [9]
 10. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (10) [9]
10. Ovenbird (10) [6]
 10. Red-winged Blackbird (12) [-]

For the third week in a row, Swainson’s Thrush and Magnolia Warbler were by far the two most commonly banded species, flip-flopping relative positions once again. The season total for Swainson’s Thrush is now up to 156, well ahead of the record pace set in 2012 when there had been 135 banded by the end of week 8, on the way to a season total of 176. In 2012, Swainson’s Thrush ranked third in week 8 behind White-throated Sparrow and Blue Jay; there were only 7 Magnolia Warblers banded that week. Despite the relatively good counts of Magnolia Warblers over the past three weeks, the season total is only 171, and is likely to end up as the lowest since 2009. White-throated Sparrow numbers this week were actually lower than expected, as it has been the top species for week 8 in six previous years, with an average of 52 banded. However, the two peak weeks for the species are immediately ahead, so we will soon have a better understanding of their numbers this fall. The biggest surprise this week came from the kinglets – Golden-crowned is typically a later migrant than Ruby-crowned, but outnumbered it this week for just the second time in week 8, and with a higher count than in any previous year. Red-eyed Vireos were banded in double digits for the fourth week in a row, Ovenbird extended its new fall season record, and another strong week for Gray Catbird hints at another new season record soon to come. On the other hand, both Tennessee Warbler and Song Sparrow numbers remain unusually low, and despite the surge in Blue Jays banded this week, their total is also below average so far.

One of the biggest changes this week was the arrival of large flocks of Canada Geese, which catapulted the species into the most observed bird of the week, by a giant margin. This is the 8th time in 11 years that Canada Goose has dominated week 8. Blue Jay moved up into second place, for just the second time in week 8, with somewhat above average numbers for the period, while American Crow was near a record low, yet still in the top three. As with numbers banded, the count of White-throated Sparrows observed was below average for the period. American Robin flocks are also starting to build as we approach late fall, although numbers are still on the low side; the same is true for European Starling and Red-winged Blackbird. The resident Black-capped Chickadees remained in stable numbers, while there were far fewer American Goldfinches than last week, although the count was typical for this point in fall. Swainson’s Thrush remained unusually numerous throughout most of the week, enough to reach the top ten for the first time ever in week 8.

While Swainson’s Thrushes were dominating this week, Gray-cheeked Thrushes were also moving in higher than usual numbers, with 7 individuals banded this week alone (more than in seven entire fall seasons), including this one (Photo by Simon Duval)

While Swainson’s Thrushes were dominating this week, Gray-cheeked Thrushes were also moving in higher than usual numbers, with 7 individuals banded this week alone (more than in seven entire fall seasons), including this one (Photo by Simon Duval)

The arrival of Slate-colored Juncos this week was among the key signs of the advancing season, despite the continuing warm weather and green leaves (Photo by Simon Duval)

The arrival of Slate-colored Juncos this week was among the key signs of the advancing season, despite the continuing warm weather and green leaves (Photo by Simon Duval)

Banding report – Fall Week 7 (September 12-18, 2015)

Week 7 (September 12-18, 2015)

 
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This is turning into another memorable fall migration for thrushes, most notably Swainson’s Thrush, with another 41 banded this week alone (Photo by Simon Duval)

This is turning into another memorable fall migration for thrushes, most notably Swainson’s Thrush, with another 41 banded this week alone (Photo by Simon Duval)

]

THIS WEEKTHIS FALL2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded 297 (41)1505 (68)2991 (83)56198 (119)
# birds (and species) repeat 49 (15)347 (35)655 (56)11356 (85)
# birds (and species) return 4 (3)44 916)170 (32)1842 (51)
# species observed 70124155213
# net hours 452.83618.47108.7109989.0
# birds banded / 100 net hours 68.241.642.050.9

Bander-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner

Assistants: Christine Barrie, Gabriel Bergeon, Pascal Berthelot, Marc Boisvert, Cindy Bouchard, Alexander Boyer, Martha Bromby, David Davey, Stéfany Desroches, Marcel Gahbauer, Shannon Gailbraith, Nicole Guido, Alison Hackney, Lisa Keelty, Marcel Lebeau, Catherine Legault, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Phillip Mercier, Anita Morales, Clémence Soulard, Patricia Stotland, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman, Christiane Tremblay, François Villeneuve

Notes:  This was a week of two extremes in terms of weather, with cold rain on Saturday and Sunday that impeded banding, some warmer rain on Monday, and then four hot and sunny days with high temperatures up to 10 degrees Celsius above normal (with nightly lows often close to usual high temperatures! Accompanying the warm weather were persistent (although generally slight) south winds – just the opposite of what we would normally expect to bring migrants into MBO in fall. Despite that, we banded considerably more birds this week (297) than in any previous week this fall – reflecting the degree to which migration marches along to some extent regardless of weather! However, that number remains fairly modest compared to recent years, and the season total to date is the lowest since 2009. The effects of weather were perhaps more evident in the number of species observed, with many mid-season migrants not yet arriving – the 70 species observed over the past 7 days was fewer than in any previous week 7.

A reliable sign of transitioning to the middle period of fall migration is the arrival of groups of Ruby-crowned Kinglets (Photo by Simon Duval)

A reliable sign of transitioning to the middle period of fall migration is the arrival of groups of Ruby-crowned Kinglets (Photo by Simon Duval)

Four mid-season migrants were banded for the first time this fall (Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Western Palm Warbler), while we also got our overdue Philadelphia Vireo. Meanwhile, we added two species to our list of birds observed this year (Greater Yellowlegs and Northern Mockingbird), and five more for this fall (Golden-crowned Kinglet, Gray-cheeked Thrush, American Pipit, Western Palm Warbler, and Rusty Blackbird). September 15 was particularly productive, with three of the five species banded, and four of the seven species observed. September 18 was also notable, with the mockingbird (only the sixth in MBO’s history) being observed concurrently with multiple Brown Thrashers and Gray Catbirds, and chasing our first Rusty Blackbird of the fall from branch to branch.

This week’s top 10 [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
 1.  Magnolia Warbler (60) [2] 1.  American Crow (21) [1]
 2. Swainson’s Thrush (41) [1] 2. American Goldfinch (17) [4]
 3. Tennessee Warbler (24) [7] 3. White-throated Sparrow (17) [-]
 4. Red-eyed Vireo (17) [4] 4. Magnolia Warbler (17) [-]
 5. White-throated Sparrow (13) [8] 5. Blue Jay (16) [7]
 6. Ovenbird (12) [10] 6. Black-capped Chickadee (14) [2]
 7. Common Yellowthroat (11) [3] 7. Broad-winged Hawk (14) [6]
 8. American Redstart (8) [8] 8. Canada Goose (12) [5]
 9. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (7) [-] 9. Swainson’s Thrush (11) [-]
9.  Gray Catbird (7) [5]
9. Nashville Warbler (7) [10]
9. Western Palm Warbler (7) [-]
9. Song Sparrow (7) [-]
 10. Cedar Waxwing (11) [-]

Magnolia Warbler was the top species banded this week, with nearly 50% more than the runner-up, Swainson’s Thrush, in a reversal of last week’s top two. This is the fifth time in the past six years that Magnolia Warbler was the top species in week 7, and the 60 individuals banded is well above the ten-year mean of 44 for week 7. However, the season total to date of 134 remains unusually low; perhaps migration is simply late this year due to the persistent warm weather, and more are on their way next week. The number of Swainson’s Thrushes banded this week was more than in any previous full fall season except 2012 and 2014, although not as many as in week 7 of 2012 when we banded a single-week record of 66; this year’s season total to date is exactly 100. Week 7 is past the usual peak of fall migration for Tennessee Warbler, but this was the most productive week of the season so far, and the second highest week 7 total for the species in 11 years of monitoring. Red-eyed Vireo numbers remained strong for a third consecutive week, while White-throated Sparrows are starting to build in advance of their traditional late September to early October peak. With another dozen Ovenbirds banded this week, it is one of three species already setting a new fall season record this year, with a total of 58; the others are Brown Thrasher (12) and Veery (34). Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart numbers are starting to taper off more, but still going strong for the date. Among the five species tied for ninth place this week were two mid-season species starting to arrive (Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Western Palm Warbler), two local/migrant species continuing in modest numbers (Gray Catbird and Song Sparrow), and Nashville Warbler.

Although migration has been inhibited to some extent by the ongoing above-seasonal temperatures and south winds, we nonetheless saw a fair amount of turnover this week among the top ten species observed, with four new species entering the list, displacing Gray Catbird, Common Yellowthroat, Red-winged Blackbird, and Common Grackle. American Crow remained the top species for a second straight week, despite tying the record low daily mean count for week 7 set in 2009 and 2012. Similarly, American Goldfinch was the runner-up despite somewhat below average numbers compared to previous years. White-throated Sparrows have sometimes also been more numerous in week 7, but the past two years they were not even among the top ten; given that migration overall seems a bit late this fall, the numbers this week already may suggest a large movement ahead. Magnolia Warblers have been in below average numbers so far this fall, but for week 7, this year’s mean daily count is actually second to only the numbers observed in 2013. Blue Jay migration remained solid throughout the week, and we again had a good number of Broad-winged Hawks, including a lovely kettle of them wheeling in the sky on the last day of the week, mixed with Red-tailed and Red-shouldered Hawks as well as several Northern Harriers for comparison. Swainson’s Thrushes seemed to be everywhere this week, as reflected in the banding counts too; this was only the second time in 11 years that they have cracked the top ten for observations. Cedar Waxwings were irregular this week, as they have been for much of the season, but there were enough on some days to squeak into the top ten for the week.

Generally the least common of the four vireo species at MBO, Philadelphia Vireos have been particularly scarce this fall, so it was encouraging to finally band four of the this week (Photo by Simon Duval)

Generally the least common of the four vireo species at MBO, Philadelphia Vireos have been particularly scarce this fall, so it was encouraging to finally band four of the this week (Photo by Simon Duval)

Banding provides a welcome opportunity to compare species side-by-side, int his case Philadelphia Vireo on the left and Red-eyed Vireo on the right (Photo by Gay Gruner)

Banding provides a welcome opportunity to compare species side-by-side, int his case Philadelphia Vireo on the left and Red-eyed Vireo on the right (Photo by Gay Gruner)

Eastern Kingbird

It’s improving every day at MBO, many new species again this morning. Eastern Kingbird is back since a few days. It is not a species we band often, only 25 individuals in 10 years so we were happy to recapture this female, banded in May 2014!!!

6may

Quiet day

The last two days were quiet, very quiet! This after-third year female Sharp-shinned Hawk brought a little bit of sunshine on a quiet day! Did I mention quiet?

mayday2015

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