Spring – 2010

** Photographs will be added to each weeks report as soon as possible – please be patient


 

Week 1:  March 28 – April 3, 2010

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded123 (10)23632 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat30 (4)4371 (66)
# birds (and species) return9 (3)629 (37)
# species observed373747199
# net hours6639973.2
# birds banded / 100 net hours186.459.1

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Censusers:  Sheldon Andrews, Amélie Constantineau, Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Rejean Duval, Barbara Frei, Jeff Harrison, Marie-Anne Hudson, Barbara MacDuff, Don MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Clémence Soulard.

Notes:  With the end of the winter season, comes the beginning of the Spring Migration Monitoring Program (SMMP) at MBO!  Our spring season is defined as the 10-week span from March 28 through June 5, with banding occurring daily from April 18 to June 1.  During the days prior to April 18 our observation periods are limited to the census, which takes place one hour after sunrise every day of the week.   This allows us to collect standardized daily estimated totals (DET) and compare results from year to year. 

A total of 37 species were observed in this first week of spring, a number consistent with what we’ve recorded in the same period in 2006 (37), 2007 (36), and 2009 (38), with only 2008 being an exception with 24 species, likely due to a much colder than usual first week of spring.  Among this week’s birds were six new species for 2010 (Greater Snow Goose, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Tree Swallow, and Cedar Waxwing). With the exception of Greater Snow Goose (observed one day only) and Ring-billed Gull (observed 6 out of 7 days), all our top ten species were observed each day. The numbers of incoming species such as Song Sparrow increased throughout the week while northbound species such as American Tree Sparrow decreased throughout the week, with Saturday being the last day they were observed on site for spring (at least so far – late stragglers are always a possibility)

The action has moved from the winter feeder area to the ponds. A pair each of Mallard and Canada Goose and several pairs of Wood Duck have been observed regularly; we are hopeful that they will breed here.  Three species of frog have started to sing: Wood Frog, Spring Peeper and Bullfrog, making it difficult to hear the birds. If you would like to learn more about frogs, visit http://www.naturewatch.ca/english/frogwatch/learn_frogs.asp?Province=pq

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Canada Goose (179)
2.  Red-winged Blackbird (44)
3.  Greater Snow Goose (31)
4.  American Crow (25)
5.  American Robin (12)
6.  Black-capped Chickadee (11)
7.  Wood Duck (7)
8.  Song Sparrow (7)
9.  American Tree Sparrow (6)
10.  Ring-billed Gull (4)

 

As has been the case in three of the past four years, Canada Goose was the most dominant species in the first week of spring, by a large margin.  Most of the other species in this year’s list have also been in the Week 1 top 10 in years past, though American Tree Sparrow hasn’t made an appearance there since 2006, and the only other time Wood Duck was on the list was in 2009. On the other hand, Blue Jay, Bohemian Waxwing, and Slate-coloured Junco were less common this week than they usually are at this time of year.

New species are arriving almost daily; there is a great sense of anticipation at the start of each census.  Why not come out and see for yourself?  Join us on Saturday April 10 for our Maintenance Day.

 


 

 Week 2:  April 4 – 10, 2010

 

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded123 (10)23632 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat30 (4)4371 (66)
# birds (and species) return9 (3)629 (37)
# species observed373747199
# net hours6639973.2
# birds banded / 100 net hours186.459.1

 

Banders-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner

Assistants: Mike Beaupré, Gilles Burelle, Chris Cloutier, Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Diana Deakin, Ian Deakin, Rejean Duval, Barbara Frei, Peter Gruner, Malcolm Johnson, Lance Laviolette, Helen Leroux, Barbara MacDuff, Don MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Francine Marcoux, Eve Marshall, Chris Murphy, Greg Rand, Mark Romer, Bonnie Soutar, Alex Stone, Rodger Titman, Clémence Soulard, Diana Wood, Mieke van der Heyde, Claude Villemagne.

Notes: Week 2 began with high temperatures, but ended with cool, wet and windy weather. Nonetheless, we added ten species to the spring list: Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Fox Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Purple Finch and House Finch. Six of those species were new for the year, bringing the 2010 species total to 53.

A pair of Green-winged Teal has been regularly observed in the back west dike this week. At times, you can have Wood Duck, Mallard and Green-winged Teal in the binoculars simultaneously. The three species swim calmly in the pond together, apparently quite content to share the habitat. This is in strong contrast with the pairs of Canada Geese that come to scout the ponds. The geese are quite aggressive with one another, squawking and flapping vigorously at each other, not to mention sending the more peaceful ducks into the air.

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Canada Goose (60) [1]
2.  Red-winged Blackbird (35) [2]
3.  American Crow (21) [4]
4.  Cedar Waxwing (15) [-]
5.  Black-capped Chickadee (13) [6]
6.  Song Sparrow (11) [8]
7.  American Robin (11) [5]
8.  Wood Duck (8) [7]
9.  Ring-billed Gull (3) [10]
10.  European Starling (3) [-]

 

Saturday was MBO’s Maintenance Day and it was extremely productive!  A HUGE thank you to the 20 hearty and bird-loving folks who turned out to help. The road, trails and net lanes are clear, a hefty layer of gravel was applied to the muddy sections of the census path, the nestboxes were cleaned and mapped (Tree Swallows were house-hunting even before the day was over), and the cabin had a thorough spring cleaning.  We learned more than we could ever wish to about wheelbarrow repair, with two flat tires and one broken handle reduced our working wheelbarrows from four to one.  Many thanks also to the Ecomuseum who generously provided a tractor and a driver to move the tons of gravel closer to the start of the trails.

While our main goal is to observe and count the birds that are present, we also note interesting flora and fauna.  Bloodroot, Trout Lily and Wood Violet are growing in patches along the census route. Shrubs such as Hobblebush and Elderberry are blooming and Horsetail Ferns are poking up everywhere.  At least three species of frogs are singing in the ponds, painted turtles and garter snakes are basking in the sun, and, for the first time since 2004, a beaver has been observed in the pond.

 


 

 

Week 3:  April 11 – 17, 2010

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded123 (10)23632 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat30 (4)4371 (66)
# birds (and species) return9 (3)629 (37)
# species observed465459199
# net hours6639973.2
# birds banded / 100 net hours186.459.1

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants:  Sheldon Andrews, Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Rejean Duval, Barbara Frei, Marie-Anne Hudson, Malcolm Johnson, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Greg Rand, Raphaelle Thomas, Rodger Titman, Clémence Soulard.

Notes:  Eight new species were added to the 2010 spring list this week: Ring-necked Duck, Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Raven, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Rusty Blackbird, bringing the season total to 54.  All but the sharpie and raven were new species for 2010, and Ring-necked Duck hasn’t been observed at MBO since May 2007. 

Overall, the birds are fairly numerous, although we haven’t yet had an influx of migrants.  Nonetheless, we observed a total of 46 species this week. The songs of Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow and Purple Finch dominated the background chorus.  What we are optimistically calling our pond regulars (Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Wood Duck and Canada Geese) were briefly joined by two Northern Pintails earlier in the week and four Ring-necked Ducks later in the week.

Photo quiz answer:  Northern Flicker – specifically the eastern form known as Yellow-shafted Flicker … no other North American bird has such a strongly yellow undertail combined with a whitish belly.

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Red-winged Blackbird (34) [2]
2.  American Crow (17) [3]
3.  Canada Goose (11) [1]
4.  Song Sparrow (10) [6]
5.  Cedar Waxwing (9) [4]
6.  Wood Duck (8) [8]
7.  Black-capped Chickadee (7) [5]
8.  American Robin (6) [7]
9.  Tree Swallow (5) [-]
10.  American Goldfinch (5) [-]

 

Our top ten list is certainly consistent: five of our top-ten species (Red-winged Blackbird, American Crow, Canada Goose, Song Sparrow and American Robin) have ranked in the top-ten list of the third week of April each year since 2006!  In fact the only two species that have never ranked in the top ten at this time of year are Tree Swallow and American Goldfinch, with the Tree Swallows probably earlier than normal this year due to the unusually mild temperatures over most of the past month.  Conversely, while Canada Goose migration usually doesn’t taper off until early May, it looks like the migrants may have already largely moved through – in past years, the lowest daily average count during week 3 was 66, six times higher than what we recorded this year!

Next week the spring migration monitoring program kicks into high gear, with daily banding (weather permitting) continuing through until June 1.  We expect that the early spring will be noticeable in atypical banding counts for week 4, since some species usually arriving only around this time have already been back in time … but we will all have to wait to see what the numbers show after the week is done..


Week 4:  April 18 – 24, 2010

 

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded98 (15)98 (15)221 (18)23730 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat18 (6)18 (6)48 (8)4389 (66)
# birds (and species) return17 (8)17 (8)26 (3)646 (37)
# species observed667074200
# net hours554.4554.4620.440527.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours17.717.735.658.6

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants:  David Anderson, Christine Barrie, Mike Beaupré, Nicolas Bernier, Gilles Burelle, Christine Burt, Adriana Celada, Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Rejean Duval, Nicki Fleming, Jeff Harrison, Marie-France Julien, Le Duing Lang, Helen Leroux, Malcolm Johnson, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Francine Marcoux, Chris Murphy, Bonnie Soutar, Rodger Titman, Clémence Soulard, Vince Spinelli.

Notes:  We’ll start with the most exciting news of the week – after much speculation, the 200th species observed at MBO turned out to be Great Egret, a lone individual that flew gracefully into the shallow water north of C nets on Thursday, April 22

Although activity at the nets was slow this week (typical for the first week of spring banding), we added 16 new species to the 2010 spring list this week.  Highlights include Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Osprey, Virginia Rail, Belted Kingfisher, Cliff and Barn Swallow, Brown Thrasher and Chipping Sparrow.  There was a consistent movement of Broad-winged Hawks throughout the week.

Our first week of daily banding went off without a hitch, thanks to a great group of volunteers.  We appreciate everyone’s efforts to get to MBO for the early start time and your hard work and keen observations for the following six hours.  One of our volunteers has an app on his iTouch that calculates a day’s work.  Here is what a typical day at the MBO equates to:  11 381 steps, 612 calories and 8.67 km (census not included).  Of course that doesn’t quantify the opportunity to observe and learn about birds as well as enjoy time with fellow nature enthusiasts!

This week’s top ten is very similar to last week’s, with just three new birds making the list: Red-winged Blackbird, American Crow and Fox Sparrow.  Six of the top ten observed also ranked in the top ten birds banded: Cedar Waxwing, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Tree Swallow and Black-capped Chickadee.  Most of these are regulars at this time of year, but Fox Sparrow was unusually abundant, with more banded in this one week than in four of five previous entire spring seasons.

 

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Cedar Waxwing (23)1.  Canada Goose (48) [3]
2.  Fox Sparrow (16)2.  Red-winged Blackbird (47) [1]
3.  Song Sparrow (14)3.  Cedar Waxwing (34) [5]
4.  Red-winged Blackbird (12)4.  American Crow (27) [-]
5.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (6)5.  Black-capped Chickadee (13) [7]
6.  Slate-coloured Junco (6)6.  Tree Swallow (13) [9]
7.  Swamp Sparrow (5)7.  Wood Duck (11) [6]
8.  American Goldfinch (4)8.  American Robin (11) [8]
9.  Tree Swallow (3)9.  Song Sparrow (11) [4]
10.  Black-capped Chickadee (2)10.  Fox Sparrow (8) [-]

 

 


 

Week 5:  April 25 – May 1, 2010

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded45 (14)153 (18)276 (20)23785 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat17 (5)35 (10)65 (10)4406 (66)
# birds (and species) return8 (6)25 (10)34 (8)654 (37)
# species observed557780200
# net hours400954.41020.440927.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours11.3162758.1

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants:  David Anderson, Christine Barrie, Mike Beaupré, Christine Burt, Adriana Celada, Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Rejean Duval, Jeff Harrison, Marie-France Julien, Malcolm Johnson, Céline Lecomte, Francine Marcoux, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Benoit Piquette, Francine Piquette, Bronwyn Rayfield, Bonnie Soutar, Rodger Titman, Clémence Soulard, Vince Spinelli

Notes:  Weather was the controlling factor at MBO this week and it was a cruel master.  We were unable to open the nets for two days due to snow and cold temperatures. The conditions were likely responsible for inhibiting the arrival of many new migrants, with the 55 species observed this week a record low for this period.  Despite this retro-winter blast, we were able to add seven new species to the spring list: Red-tailed Hawk, American Black Duck, Herring Gull, Hooded Merganser, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush, and Savannah Sparrow. The waterthrush was also one of three new species banded this week, in addition to Brown Thrasher and Brown-headed Cowbird.

Our top-ten remained much the same, with the ranks of the species shuffling slightly and only American Goldfinch being new to the list. Our top-ten species banded list also remained much the same; only American Robin, White-throated Sparrow and Common Grackle (the latter much to the detriment of our fingers) were new to the list. MBO weeks run Sunday to Saturday this year, and the final round on Saturday seemed to signal a welcome change in activity – a Northern Waterthrush in the net and a small group of Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting among the trees.

Our breeding birds are still dominating our observations. Virginia Rail, a species that we hope to confirm as a breeder, was heard every day this week (one lucky person actually saw one!). We have been hearing two rails, which has led to optimistic speculation about breeding. Interestingly, each rail has its own call variation; one calls wep wepwepwep from the north ponds, while the other calls kidik, kidik, kidik from Stoneycroft Pond.

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Red-winged Blackbird (15) [4]1.  Canada Goose (79) [1]
2.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (8) [5]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (38) [2]
3.  Cedar Waxwing (6) [1]3.  American Crow (24) [4]
4.  American Goldfinch (5) [8]4.  Cedar Waxwing (24) [3]
4.  Swamp Sparrow (5) [7]5.  Tree Swallow (12) [6]
6.  Tree Swallow (3) [9]6.  Black-capped Chickadee (10) [5]
6.  White-throated Sparrow (3) [-]7.  Song Sparrow (10) [9]
8.  American Robin (2) [-]8.  American Goldfinch (9) [-]
8.  Slate-colored Junco (2) [6]9.  Wood Duck (9) [7]
10.  Common Grackle (2) [-]10.  American Robin (8) [8]

 

Finally this week, we have news to share about two more birds banded at MBO that have been reported from elsewhere. A female Red-winged Blackbird banded during MBO’s first full spring season in 2005 was reported this week by our neighbour, the Ecomuseum, almost exactly five years after we banded it.  Meanwhile, an American Tree Sparrow that we banded in the last week of the 2009 fall season was found this week quite a bit to the northeast, at Lac Megantic, Quebec.

 


 

 

Week 6:  May 2 – 8, 2010

 

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded37 (18)227 (25)350 (27)23859 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat9 (4)47 (11)77 (10)4418 (66)
# birds (and species) return12 (8)37 (14)46 (12)666 (37)
# species observed82105108200
# net hours4211375.41441.441348.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours17.516.524.357.7

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants:  Christine Barrie, Mike Beaupré, Christine Burt, Adriana Celada, Jean Demers, Connie Downes, David Davey, Rejean Duval, Isaac Finkelstein, Max Finkelstein, Nicki Fleming, Barbara Frei, Jeff Harrison, Marie-Anne Hudson, Marie-France Julien, Malcolm Johnson, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Mark Romer, Bonnie Soutar, Rodger Titman, Clémence Soulard, Vince Spinelli

Notes:  Once again weather conditions played havoc with our spring migration monitoring program.  Even with snow, high winds, cold temperatures and rain (yes, this is the first week of May) we managed to have the nets open 412 of a possible 560 net hours. Despite the challenging conditions for both birds and humans, we added 28 species to the spring and year lists: Cackling Goose, Blue-winged Teal, Green Heron, Northern Goshawk, Common Moorhen, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Great-crested Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Blue-headed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Winter Wren, Veery, Wood Thrush, Tennessee Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, Eastern White-crowned Sparrow, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole.

 

Seven new species were banded this week: Warbling Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Eastern White-crowned Sparrow.  Despite this promising list, activity in the nets remains slow and has us scratching our heads. Migration is unusual this year, to say the least. Fat levels on our Ruby-crowned Kinglets and White-throated Sparrows were high, a sign that they are ready for the next leg of their trip to the Boreal. We hope they will have a productive breeding season and return en masse in the fall.

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (5) [2]1.  Canada Goose (328) [1]
1.  Red-winged Blackbird (5) [1]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (41) [2]
3.  White-throated Sparrow (4) [6]3.  Cliff Swallow (23) [-]
4.  Tree Swallow (2) [6]4.  Cedar Waxwing (18) [4]
4.  American Robin (2) [8]5.  American Crow (16) [-]
4.  Nashville Warbler (2) [-]6.  American Goldfinch (15) [8]
4.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (2) [-]7.  Tree Swallow (15) [5]
4.  Common Yellowthroat (2) [-]8.  Ring-billed Gull (13) [-]
4.  Song Sparrow (2) [-]9.  Black-capped Chickadee (12) [6]
4.  Common Grackle (2) [10]10.  Blue Jay (11) [-]

 

The top ten species banded this week is a meager list.  The total count of 37 is a record low for week 6 of spring, and all the more remarkable is that all species were scarce – in previous years, the smallest ever count for the week’s top bird was 13 individuals banded!

Once again Canada Goose is the top bird observed by a large margin, as has been the case in week 6 for four of the previous five years as well.  New in the top ten observed list this week are Cliff Swallow, American Crow, Ring-billed Gull and Blue Jay. Cliff Swallows numbers have swelled considerably since their arrival at the Radar Station during Week 4, the gulls have been attracted by the tilling of the farm fields southeast of MBO, large flocks of Blue Jays have been observed, signaling a possible migration, and who can ever explain the movement patterns of American Crows? Suffice it to say that they fly purposefully from compass point to compass point, but we can not really discern the reasons behind their movements.

 


 

 

Week 7:  May 9 – 15, 2010

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded124 (31)351 (40)474 (43)23983 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat24 (10)71 (18)101 (16)4442 (66)
# birds (and species) return28 (10)65 (18)74 (16)694 (37)
# species observed85117120200
# net hours4801855.41921.441828.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours25.818.924.757.3

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Marcel Gahbauer, Gay Gruner
Assistants:  Christine Barrie, Mike Beaupré, Christine Burt, Adriana Celada, Jean Demers, Connie Downes, David Davey, Rejean Duval, Isaac Finkelstein, Max Finkelstein, Nicki Fleming, Barbara Frei, Jeff Harrison, Marie-Anne Hudson, Marie-France Julien, Malcolm Johnson, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Mark Romer, Bonnie Soutar, Rodger Titman, Clémence Soulard, Vince Spinelli

Notes:  Although last week’s cold weather spilled over into the beginning of week 7, after that temperatures were more seasonal, and migrants responded in decent numbers.  While we saw no big fallouts of birds, volume increased slightly throughout the week, and our total number of birds banded ended up relatively average for this time of year (ranked third out of six spring seasons).  Similarly, the number of species observed this week and the total number of the species observed for the season to date are close to our five-year averages. 

Another dozen species were observed this week for the first time in 2010:  Sora, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Least Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, Northern Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, American Redstart, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Bobolink. The list of species banded this year grew even more impressively, with 16 more species bringing the season total to 40:  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Least Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, House Wren, Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Tennessee Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Ovenbird, Chipping Sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Baltimore Oriole.

Among this week’s banding highlights were Wood Thrush (the first ever banded at MBO in spring, and only the fourth overall), Ovenbird (only 2 banded at MBO in spring previously), Blue-headed Vireo (only 9 banded at MBO in spring previously), and Northern Parula (only 10 banded at MBO in spring previously).  Overall it was a good week for diversity, with the 31 species banded this week eclipsing the season total of 25 species coming into this week.

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (19) [4]1.  Canada Goose (46) [1]
2.  White-crowned Sparrow (11) [-]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (43) [2]
3.  American Goldfinch (10) [-]3.  Ring-billed Gull (31) [8]
4.  Red-winged Blackbird (9) [1]4.  Cedar Waxwing (23) [4]
5.  Yellow Warbler (7) [-]5.  Cliff Swallow (19) [3]
5.  White-throated Sparrow (7) [3]6.  American Crow (18) [5]
7.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (6) [1]7.  Tree Swallow (15) [7]
7.  American Robin (6) [4]8.  American Goldfinch (14) [6]
9.  Common Grackle (5) [4]9.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (13) [-]
10.  Gray Catbird (4) [-]
10.  Nashville Warbler(4) [4]
10.  Swamp Sparrow (4) [-]
10.  Yellow Warbler (12) [-]

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler is on top of the list of species banded this week, a first for spring, in contrast to fall when this species often dominates.  On the other hand, Red-winged Blackbird has traditionally dominated the banding list in week 7, but only ranked fourth this year.  White-crowned Sparrow has never ranked higher than fifth place in weekly banding totals at MBO in spring, but was a surprise runner-up this week. American Goldfinch has ranked third during week 7 in four of the five previous years, and managed to finish there again. The others on the list this week are also mostly regulars for this time of spring.

Canada Goose and Red-winged Blackbird maintained the top two positions among species observed for a third week in a row, but Canada Goose showed its traditional sharp drop in numbers from week 6 to week 7, corresponding to the large flocks of migrants largely having moved on.  Positions three through eight have been reshuffled from last week, and all of them are regulars at this time of year. New this week at the bottom of the list are Yellow-rumped and Yellow Warblers; both have shown up in the top ten for week 7 in some previous years, but this is the first time both have been this abundant in the same year.

Toward the end of the week, our regular program was overlapped with a banding workshop by Peter Pyle, jointly coordinated by MBO and Vanier College

 


 

 

Week 8:  May 16 – 22, 2010

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded146 (36)497 (53)620 (55)24129 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat46 (15)117 (24)147 (24)4488 (66)
# birds (and species) return30 (13)95 (23)104 (25)724 (37)
# species observed93129132200
# net hours5442399.42465.442372.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours2720.725.156.9

 

Banders-in-charge: Simon Duval, Marcel Gahbauer, Lance Laviolette

Assistants: Christine Barrie, Mike Beaupré, Gilles Burelle, Christine Burt, Brandee Diner, Dominique Dufault, Rejean Duval, Nicki Fleming, Quentin Van Ginhoven, Jude Girard, Jeff Harrison, Lesley-Anne Howes, Marie-Anne Hudson, Marie-France Julien, Malcolm Johnson, Andrée Laviolette, Meghan Laviolette, Barbara MacDuff, Francine Marcoux, Chris Murphy, David Oxley, Peter Pyle, Bronwyn Rayfield, Cindy Romero, Bonnie Soutar, Alain Theriault, Vince Spinelli

Notes: The first few days of this week overlapped with our banding workshop, with special guest Peter Pyle; for more about this event, click here. On top of that, it was Birdathon week, with Marcel Gahbauer doing his mostly on foot (and with a bit of aid from public transit) in Toronto, the MBO Birdathon team doing theirs entirely on foot at MBO and in the Morgan Arboretum, and the Red-eyed Wearios exploring southwestern Quebec and eastern Ontario; please click on the preceding links for details, and consider donating in support of either effort to help fund the migration monitoring programs at MBO (click here to make a secure online contribution; charitable tax receipts will automatically be issued for all donations of $10 or greater).

Now to the “regular” news for the week. Both the number of individuals and species banded this week were roughly average for this time of spring, but much of the activity came in the first half of the week, while the last few days were uncharacteristically quiet for this time of year. Another dozen species were observed for the first time this year: Wilson’s Snipe, Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Canada Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager. We also had a dozen species (many of the same ones) that were banded for the first time in 2010: Eastern Kingbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Veery, Orange-crowned Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstart, Black-and-white Warbler, Canada Warbler, and Wilson’s Warbler.

 

One of the highlights of the week was the recapture of an Eastern Kingbird we banded at MBO in 2005.  But even more interesting was the recapture of a Northern Waterthrush banded on May 16, 2003 at the Powdermill Nature Reserve in Pennsylvania as a second-year bird, putting this bird within one year of the longevity record for the species.

There was a fair amount of turnover this week with respect to the top species banded.  Last week’s top five were still around in decent numbers this week, but Yellow-rumped Warblers and White-crowned Sparrows were much less common, while the numbers of Yellow Warbers, Red-winged Blackbirds, and American Goldfinches banded increased.  In general there was a modest influx of warblers this week, with Tennessee, Wilson’s, Northern Waterthrush, and Common Yellowthroat also all common enough to make the top ten.

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Red-winged Blackbird (18) [4]1.  Ring-billed Gull (43) [3]
2.  Yellow Warbler (12) [5]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (40) [2]
2.  American Goldfinch (12) [3]3.  Cliff Swallow (37) [5]
4.  Cedar Waxwing (9) [-]4.  Tree Swallow (18) [7]
5.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (8) [1]5.  American Goldfinch (14) [8]
5.  Northern Waterthrush (8) [-]6.  American Crow (13) [6]
5.  Common Yellowthroat (8) [-]7.  Yellow Warbler (13) [10]
8.  Tennessee Warbler (6) [-]8.  Cedar Waxwing (12) [4]
8.  White-crowned Sparrow (6) [2]9.  Canada Goose (8) [1]
10.  Gray Catbird (5) [10]
10.  Wilson’s Warbler (5) [-]
10.  Song Sparrow (5) [-]
10.  Baltimore Oriole (5) [-]
10.  Common Grackle (8) [-]

The most frequently observed species are the same as last week, except that Common Grackle has replaced Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Canada Geese and Cedar Waxwings declined considerably in abundance this week, whereas Cliff Swallow and Ring-billed Gull increased.  The top three species are in the same order as last year at this time, though Ring-billed Gulls were much less numerous than in 2009 (43 per day on average, vs. 79), while Cliff Swallows were more abundant (37 vs. 22).  The rest of the species on the list are also the same as last year (albeit shuffled around a bit), except for Cedar Waxwing taking the place of Tennessee Warbler.  Just two weeks of spring migration left now.


 

Week 9:  May 23 – 29, 2010

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded99 (26)596 (58)719 (60)24228 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat35 (13)152 (26)182 (26)4523 (66)
# birds (and species) return15 (8)110 (23)119 (25)739 (37)
# species observed81136139200
# net hours5602959.42945.442932.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours17.720.123.856.4

 

Banders-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner, Lance Laviolette
Assistants: Christine Barrie, Mike Beaupré, Christine Burt,  Jean Demers, Andrée-Anne Deschamps, Philippe Dunn,  Rejean Duval, Jeff Harrison, Malcolm Johnson,  Vivek Kumar, Barbara MacDuff, Chris Murphy, Bronwyn Rayfield, Katie St-Jean, Bonnie Soutar, Clémence Soulard, Vince Spinelli.

Notes:  In what has already been a somewhat quieter than usual spring, this week was the most disappointing of all.  In past years, week 9 has typically shared the season peak with week 8; this year the number of birds and number of species banded were the lowest ever for this period.  The number of species observed (81) was also a record low for week 9, which has ranged from 84 to 101 in past years.  Overall, this week marked a continuation of the slow days at the end of last week, and probably much of this can be attributed to the continuing hot and muggy weather.

Despite the relatively low volume of migrants, we had several additions to the 2010 observations list, mostly typical late spring arrivals:  Black-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Traill’s Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, and Mourning Warbler.  Four of these (Traill’s Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, and Mourning Warbler) we also banded for the first time this year, along with Great Crested Flycatcher.

Banders-in-charge: Simon Duval, Gay Gruner, Lance Laviolette
Assistants: Christine Barrie, Mike Beaupré, Christine Burt,  Jean Demers, Andrée-Anne Deschamps, Philippe Dunn,  Rejean Duval, Jeff Harrison, Malcolm Johnson,  Vivek Kumar, Barbara MacDuff, Chris Murphy, Bronwyn Rayfield, Katie St-Jean, Bonnie Soutar, Clémence Soulard, Vince Spinelli.

Notes:  In what has already been a somewhat quieter than usual spring, this week was the most disappointing of all.  In past years, week 9 has typically shared the season peak with week 8; this year the number of birds and number of species banded were the lowest ever for this period.  The number of species observed (81) was also a record low for week 9, which has ranged from 84 to 101 in past years.  Overall, this week marked a continuation of the slow days at the end of last week, and probably much of this can be attributed to the continuing hot and muggy weather.

Despite the relatively low volume of migrants, we had several additions to the 2010 observations list, mostly typical late spring arrivals:  Black-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Traill’s Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, and Mourning Warbler.  Four of these (Traill’s Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Swainson’s Thrush, and Mourning Warbler) we also banded for the first time this year, along with Great Crested Flycatcher.

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Cedar Waxwing (23) [3]1.  Cliff Swallow (33) [3]
2.  American Goldfinch (13) [-]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (22) [2]
3.  Red-winged Blackbird (8) [1]3.  Cedar Waxwing (16) [8]
4.  Baltimore Oriole (6) [6]4.  American Crow (14) [6]
5.  Traill’s Flycatcher (5) [-]5.  Tree Swallow (14) [4]
6.  Gray Catbird (4) [-]6.  American Goldfinch (11) [5]
6.  Yellow Warbler (4) [-]7.  Ring-billed Gull (10) [1]
6.  Blackpoll Warbler (4) [-]8.  Yellow Warbler (9) [7]
6.  Magnolia Warbler (4) [-]9.  Mallard (8) [-]
6.  Common Yellowthroat (4) [2]
6.  Song Sparrow (4) [-]
10.  Baltimore Oriole (7) [-]

In terms of species observed, Cliff Swallow and Red-winged Blackbird have remained around the top of the list for another week, while Ring-billed Gulls were surprisingly scarce this week compared to last (and also to other years, as Ring-billed Gull was the top species for week 9 on the list 3 of the past 5 spring seasons).  Overall, the observed species also reflect an earlier than usual end to migration, with all ten species being local breeders rather than transients. We expect to see more of the same next week, which will be the end of our spring season for 2010.


 

Week 10:  May 30 – June 5, 2010

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded32 (17)628 (59)751 (61)24260 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat9 (5)161 (26)191 (26)4532 (66)
# birds (and species) return3 (3)113 (24)122 (26)742 (37)
# species observed58137140200
# net hours1563115.43181.443088.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours20.520.223.656.3

 

Bander-in-charge:  Simon Duval
Assistants:  Mike Beaupré, Christine Burt, Rejean Duval, Jeff Harrison, Malcolm Johnson, Barbara MacDuff, Chris Murphy.

Notes:  The banding results this week look particularly meager, but that’s largely because in the final week of spring migration monitoring we only have the nets open for the first three days, limiting ourselves to census observations thereafter since by early June most birds in the area are residents, with only a few late migrants trickling through (and all the more so in a year like this where spring was early).  On top of that we lost one of our banding days to rain.  However, the relatively slow week provided an opportunity to prepare for our second year of participation in the MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) program, a means of tracking our local birds.

Again this week the number of species observed was a record low, 58 compared to between 70 and 84 in previous years. Given that migration was advanced this spring, it’s no surprise that the only new species observed in this final week of the season was Alder Flycatcher (which in reality probably arrived earlier, since we had recorded Traill’s Flycatcher last week … it’s just that we didn’t hear one vocalizing to clinch the identification until this week).  The only new species banded this week was a Sharp-shinned Hawk, bringing the season total to 59 species, the lowest in our six years of spring migration monitoring.  Similarly, the total of 628 individuals banded is a record low.  We will need to look at the numbers more closely, but our initial speculation is that these totals reflect the unusually early movement of some species through the area prior to the start of our season combined with the unseasonally hot temperatures in late May that likely inspired later migrants to continue north more rapidly than in other years.

With so few birds banded this week, the top ten list is more of a top six, as the remaining 11 species were all tied with just one individual each.  Cedar Waxwings topped the week 10 list for the fourth time in six years; the species that was number one in the other years, Blackpoll Warbler, was among those banded just once this week.  Somewhat surprisingly this is the first time that Yellow Warbler has made the top ten list for the final week of spring – it isn’t that they aren’t usually around at this time, just that usually we have banded all of the local residents earlier in the season (if not in past years).

This week’s Top Ten [last week’s rank in brackets]
# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1.  Cedar Waxwing (8) [1]1.  Red-winged Blackbird (22) [2]
2.  Red-winged Backbird (4) [6]2.  Cedar Waxwing (12) [3]
3.  Yellow Warbler (3) [-]3.  Tree Swallow (10) [5]
4.  Tree Swallow (2) [-]4. Ring-billed Gull (8) [7]
4.  Magnolia Warbler (2) [-]5. American Crow (8) [4]
4.  Baltimore Oriole (2) [-]6. Yellow Warbler (7) [8]
7.  11 species tied (1)7. Baltimore Oriole (6) [10]
8. Song Sparrow (6) [-]
9. American Goldfinch (6) [6]
10.  Cliff Swallow (5) [1]
Black-capped Chickadee (6) [-]
House Wren (6) [-]

Among the species observed, Red-winged Blackbird was on top by a large margin, as has been the case every year in week 10.  Cedar Waxwing is always in the top ten at this time of year, but this is the first time it has ranked so high.  Meanwhile, House Wren appears on the list for the first time in spring.  Overall it was a slower than usual spring, and a bit disappointing in that we never got the big push of migrants we were anticipating.  However, as the weekly reports have shown, we still enjoyed plenty of highlights.  We now switch over to monitoring our breeding bird population for the next two months before resuming migration monitoring at the beginning of August.