Spring – 2011

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


 

Week 1:  March 28 – April 3, 2011

# birds (and species) banded71 (8)31640 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat8 (1)5515 (68)
# birds (and species) return24 (2)831 (37)
# species observed323244202
# net hours2349640.1
# birds banded / 100 net hours308.763.7

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Censusers:  
Jean Demers, Leah Den Besten, Réjean Duval, Gay Gruner, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Greg Rand, Clémence Soulard, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman.

Notes:  According to the calendar, winter has ended, and we are starting our seventh Spring Migration Monitoring Program (SMMP) at MBO!  However, we still have a lot of snow on the ground this year, in sharp contrast to last year’s unusually early thaw.  The road to the site is still impassable by car, and as of the end of the week, the ponds are only beginning to thaw, to the frustration of the Canada Geese that have been checking the site out for nesting potential. No doubt warmer weather will be coming soon though, and by the end of our 10-week spring season on June 5, it will feel more like summer.  As usual, the first three weeks of our spring program are limited to the daily census and some supplementary incidental observations; full operations including daily banding will commence in week 4, beginning on April 18.  

This week we observed 32 species, somewhat below our average of 35 for the first week of the spring season; considering the lingering winter conditions this is not surprising.  In fact, the count is rather good compared to the 24 speciees observed during this week in 2008, when we also had unusually cold weather.  Among the species observed were 8 new arrivals for the year:  Snow Goose, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Great Blue Heron, American Woodcock, Eastern Phoebe, Common Grackle, and Pine Siskin.  American Woodcock and Northern Pintail are species we don’t see every spring, so we are off to a good start!

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Greater Snow Goose (501)
2.  Canada Goose (454)
3.  Red-winged Blackbird (31)
4.  Bohemian Waxwing (27)
5.  American Crow (16)
6.  Ring-billed Gull (15)
7.  Black-capped Chickadee (13)
8.  Slate-colored Junco (13)
9.  Cedar Waxwing (11)
10.  Common Redpoll (11)

 

Snow Goose took first place this week, displacing the usual week 1 leader (Canada Goose) to second spot.  This is not surprising, given that a phenomenal concentration of Snow Geese was observed this week by many birders in eastern Ontario, with many estimates indicating over half a million individuals were present.  The flocks flying over MBO, most notably an impressive 3250 individuals on April 1, were probably on the eastern fringe of that impressive movement.  Red-winged Blackbirds were abundant enough to claim third place, in numbers roughly average for this time of year; the first female of the year showed up on March 30.  Bohemian Waxwing made the top 10 for this week for the third time in the past four years, reflecting the increasingly regular winter presence of this species in our region.  Cedar Waxwings were mixed in with them this week as they both foraged in our fruit trees, giving a nice opportunity to compare the two species.  Most of the other species in the top ten are typical early spring birds at MBO, except for Common Redpoll. Previously a single individual in week 3 of 2009 was the only spring record of this species, but this week we still had good numbers on the first two days before the flocks departed.  We will see whether there are any stragglers next week, or all have really headed north.

 


Week 2:  April 4 – 10, 2010

April showers might bring May flowers, as the saying goes, but in our case they also help fill up Stoneycroft Pond, which is looking better than it has in years thanks to habitat maintenance work this past winter. (Photo by Gay Gruner)

April showers might bring May flowers, as the saying goes, but in our case they also help fill up Stoneycroft Pond, which is looking better than it has in years thanks to habitat maintenance work this past winter.
(Photo by Gay Gruner)

 

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.

Eight of this week’s top ten species also ranked in last week’s top ten, with the exception of Cedar Waxwing and European Starling.  Most of the other species in this week’s list have also been in the Week 2 top 10 in years past.

This week’s Top Ten
# 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) banded71 (8)31640 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat8 (1)5515 (68)
# birds (and species) return24 (2)831 (37)
# species observed384958202
# net hours2349640.1
# birds banded / 100 net hours308.763.7

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants:  Jean Demers, Gay Gruner, Malcolm Johnson, Louise LeBel, Barbara MacDuff, Daniel Martin, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Greg Rand, Catherine Russell, Clémence Soulard, Rodger Titman.

Notes:  This was the third and final week of our “early spring” phase, during which we conduct census daily and take care of various site maintenance tasks, but don’t yet open up any of the nets for banding.  The frogs have started to sing, pussy willows (Salix discolor) are in their furry stage, and the Tree Swallows have begun to return, so it must be spring.  However, temperatures dropped toward the end of the week and seemed to temporarily shut off the tap on new migrants.  Before the cold front moved in, we recorded seven new species for the season: Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Merlin, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Tree Swallow, Fox Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow; all of these except Red-tailed Hawk were also new sightings for the year.  Also of note, we have regularly been seeing three deer when opening the gate in the morning – although nice to see, we hope they won’t be moving around the site once the nets are open next week.  In preparation for the banding season, we put up all the nets this week, with many thanks to Jean Demers, Catherine Russell, Clemence Soulard, and Matthew Von Bornhoft for their help.

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Canada Goose (52)  [1]
2.  Red-winged Blackbird (43)  [4]
3.  Slate-colored Junco (18)  [-]
4.  American Crow (16)  [9]
5.  American Robin (12)  [8]
6.  Song Sparrow (11)  [-]
7.  Bohemian Waxwing (10)  [3]
7.  Black-capped Chickadee (10)  [9]
9.  Wood Duck (9)  [7]
9.  Ring-billed Gull (9)  [4]

Eight of the species in this week’s top ten were also on last week’s list, although there has been some shuffling of ranks.  Slate-colored Junco jumped back on after dropping out last week, while Song Sparrow made it to the top ten for the first time this year, likely on the strength of returning local residents.  Displaced from last week’s list were Cedar Waxwing and Snow Goose.  Canada Goose was again the most abundant species, although overall numbers were down 90% since last week, and only around 20% of what the six-year average is for this time of year. This is the sixth time in our seven spring seasons that Canada Goose has taken top spot in week 3; only last year was an exception to this pattern.  Red-winged Blackbird numbers are somewhat above average for this time of year, though not as high as the record of 57 back in 2006.  The juncos were even more unusually common for week 3, having only appeared in this week’s top ten twice in the previous six years.  Also of note, we’ve never before had more than a couple of Bohemian Waxwings stick around this late in spring, so although numbers did taper off this week, we’re hoping there’s a chance a few might linger into next week and perhaps give us a chance at finally banding our first one.

 


 

Week 4:  April 18 – 24, 2011

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded89 (20)89 (20)160 (24)31729 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat7 (5)7 (5)15 (5)5522 (68)
# birds (and species) return13 (6)13 (6)37 (6)844 (37)
# species observed384958202
# net hours327.5327.5350.549967.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours27.227.245.663.5

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Intern:   Matthew Von Bornhoft
Assistants:  David Anderson, Christine Barrie, Nicolas Bernier, Rui De Jesus, Jean Demers, Sarah Dixon, Tammy Eliott, Lisa Keelty, Le Duing Lang, Noemie Laplante, Barbara MacDuff, Francine Marcoux, Betsy McFarlane, Christine Murphy, Greg Rand, Clémence Soulard, Patricia Stotland, Rodger Titman.

Notes:  The calendar dictated that our annual spring migration banding program began this week, but the weather didn’t agree, with persistent cold and even snowy weather causing us to abandon plans for banding on two days and reducing hours on others (not to mention that part of the N1 net lane remains underwater, so we can’t yet use it).  Despite the less than ideal conditions, our list of species observed this spring took a substantial leap forward this week, perhaps in part due to the extra effort associated with expanding to full-morning operations after three weeks primarily limited to the daily census.  Most notably though, we had a fantastic final day of the week, with 51 species observed, our highest ever total this early in spring (last year we didn’t get a count that high until May 15, and in the previous three years it was always between May 2 and 8 when we cracked the 50-species mark for the first time).  New species observed this week were Red-breasted Merganser, Common Loon, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Belted Kingfisher, Rock Pigeon, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren, Vesper Sparrow, and Savannah Sparrow. All of these except Rock Pigeon, Cooper’s Hawk, and Sharp-shinned Hawk were also new for 2011.

Naturally all 20 species banded this week were new for the season, and 70% of them were also new for the year.  As is typical for spring, we had a fair number of returns. Among them were a female Tree Swallow using one of our nest boxes for a second consecutive year, and two birds banded in January 2010 that were recaptured during the first two days of this week – a Slate-colored Junco and an American Tree Sparrow.  They weren’t caught this past winter, so it’s difficult to know whether they stayed at MBO again, or are just passing through now, having favoured other feeders nearby over the past several months.  A more reliable local resident is Black-capped Chickadee 2500-65175, recaptured this week for the 22nd time since being banded on 2 August 2008!  Finally, we recaptured a Song Sparrow banded as a juvenile on 25 July 2010, showing natal philopatry by returning to MBO.

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Slate-colored Junco (23)  [-]1.  Canada Goose (126)  [1]
2.  American Robin (13)  [-]2.  Bohemian Waxwing (42)  [7]
3.  Fox Sparrow (12)  [-]3.  Red-winged Blackbird (41)  [2]
4.  American Tree Sparrow (6)  [-]4.  Slate-colored Junco (29)  [3]
5.  Cedar Waxwing (5)  [-]5.  Cedar Waxwing (24)  [-]
6.  Black-capped Chickadee (4)  [-]6.  Greater Snow Goose (21)  [-]
7.  Song Sparrow (3)  [-]7.  American Crow (21)  [4]
7.  White-throated Sparrow (3)  [-]8.  Black-capped Chickadee (18)  [7]
7.  Red-winged Blackbird (3)  [-]9.  Ring-billed Gull (17)  [9]
10.  Yellow-shafted Flicker (2)  [-]
10.  Tree Swallow (2)  [-]
10.  European Starling (2)  [-]
10.  Northern Cardinal (2)  [-]
9.  American Robin (17)  [5]

 

This week’s list of top species banded is quite different from what is typical for week 4.  Over the past six years, Ruby-crowned Kinglet has been the most frequently banded species in this week by far, with an average of nearly 16 per year – but this week we just had one!  On the other hand, our six-year average for Slate-colored Junco at this time of year is just 5, but we more than quadrupled that this week.  The number of American Robins, Fox Sparrows, and American Tree Sparrows were also well above average, while Red-winged Blackbird and Song Sparrow joined the kinglet as being scarcer than usual.

For the fifth time in seven years, Canada Goose was the most numerous species observed during week 4.  The Bohemian Waxwings are lingering longer than ever before, making their first appearance in the top ten this late in the season, though unfortunately they managed to evade all our nets.  Juncos were also more abundant than ever before in week 4, the elevated numbers of both juncos and Bohemian Waxwings perhaps reflecting the lingering winter weather. Cedar Waxwing and Snow Goose returned to the top ten this week, displacing Wood Duck and Song Sparrow (marking the first time ever that Song Sparrow hasn’t cracked the top ten in week 4).


Week 5:  April 25 – May 1, 2011

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded66 (15)155 (24)226 (28)31795 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat12 (7)19 (8)27 (8)5534 (68)
# birds (and species) return9 (6)22 (10)46 (10)853 (37)
# species observed758490202
# net hours376703.5726.550343.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours17.62231.163.1

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner, Barbara Frei, Lance Laviolette
Intern:   Matthew Von Bornhoft
Assistants:  Christine Barrie, Chris Cloutier, David Davey, Rui De Jesus, Leah Den Besten, Sarah Dixon, Andrée-Anne Deschamps Leonard, Andrée Dubois-Laviolette, Rejean Duval, Liette Fortier, Lisa Keelty, Noemie Laplante, Meghan Laviolette, Lance Laviolette, Barbara MacDuff, Francine Marcoux, Betsy McFarlane, Christine Murphy, Greg Rand, Patricia Stotland, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman

Notes:  It was a relatively quite week at MBO, which is not at all unusual for the end of April.  While numbers banded remained modest, we did see a steady influx of species arriving for the first time this year, 18 in all:  Virginia Rail, Eastern Kingbird, Blue-headed Vireo, Marsh Wren, House Wren, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Nashville Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Chipping Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Eastern Meadowlark.  We also had four species banded for the first time this year (Sharp-shinned Hawk, only our third ever in spring out of a total of 41; Blue-headed Vireo; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Brown-headed Cowbird).  Additionally there were four species providing new returns for 2011 (Downy Woodpecker, House Wren, Common Yellowthroat, and Brown-headed Cowbird); these are presumably all local breeders.  The cowbird was a male banded on 22 May 2009 and missed last year.  An even more interesting return was a male Red-winged Blackbird banded as an after-second-year bird on 14 May 2006, recaptured in late May 2008, and then again on 26 April this year.

Again this week two days were mostly lost to rain, and it wasn’t until the final day that water levels finally dropped low enough for us to get net H1 into action for the first time this year.  That day we also hosted 16 visitors from the Société d’Ornithologie de Lanaudière, who didn’t get to see too much action in the nets, but contributed to the best diversity of the week, with 48 species observed that day.  For many in the group, the highlight was observing a pair of Turkey Vultures that appear to be nesting at MBO this spring.  A pair has been hanging out around the B/N nets for the past two weeks, and their behaviour suggests they may already have eggs.  We are trying to ensure that disturbance in this area is minimized, to give them the best chance of nesting successfully – we would love to see some fledgling vultures later this spring or early in summer!  

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Slate-colored Junco (10)  [1]1.  Canada Goose (96)  [1]
2.  American Tree Sparrow (9)  [4]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (45)  [3]
3.  White-throated Sparrow (8)  [7]3.  Slate-colored Junco (26)  [4]
3.  Red-winged Blackbird (8)  [7]4.  American Crow (25)  [7]
5.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (6)  [-]5.  White-throated Sparrow (16)  [-]
5.  American Robin (6)  [2]6.  Black-capped Chickadee (16)  [8]
7.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (4)  [-]7.  American Robin (13)  [9]
7.  Fox Sparrow (4)  [3]8.  Tree Swallow (13)  [-]
9.  Brown-headed Cowbird (3)  [-]9.  Song Sparrow (11)  [-]
10.  Sharp-shinned Hawk (1)  [-]
10.  Yellow-shafted Flicker (1)  [10]
10.  Blue-headed Vireo (1)  [-]
10.  Black-capped Chickadee (1)  [6]
10.  Northern Cardinal (1)  [10]
10.  Swamp Sparrow (1)  [-]
10.  Bohemian Waxwing (10)  [2]

 

 

In four of the past six years, Red-winged Blackbird has topped the list of birds banded, with only White-throated Sparrow (in 2008) and Ruby-crowned Kinglet (2009) interrupting that pattern of dominance, and those three species have on average been more than twice as numerous as any others.  This year, Slate-colored Junco has been added to that list of exceptions, thanks to a delayed departure reminiscent of our experience in spring 2006.  American Tree Sparrow in second place is even more indicative of the late spring, having never before appeared in our top ten this late in the season, let alone so close to the top of the list.On the other hand, this is the highest count of Yellow-rumped Warblers we’ve ever had so early in spring – so as is often the case, patterns are more complex than they may appear at first glance.  Also of note, American Robins continued in good numbers this week, with the two-week total of 19 banded already more than we’ve ever had in any previous full spring season. Similarly, the two-week total of 16 Fox Sparrows is a record, albeit tied with 2010 at this point. Rounding out this week’s list are a half dozen species with one individual each, reflecting that it was a rather quiet week of banding.

Canada Goose remained far in front of all other species observed this week, consistent with all previous years.  Likewise, Red-winged Blackbird maintains its 7-year streak as runner-up during week 5.  Just as the number of juncos banded is unusual for this late in spring, this is only the second time the species has been in the top ten of birds observed in week 5, again with 2006 being the only previous occurrence.  Also reflecting the late spring in this chart is the continued presence of Bohemian Waxwings, although their numbers have tapered off substantially since last week.  Otherwise the list generally reflects the usual spring migrants.  Another species worth noting is Tree Swallow, which over 7 spring seasons has always had an average count during week 5 of between 12 and 16 individuals.  With Tree Swallows and White-throated Sparrows arriving in good numbers this week and Song Sparrow rebounding into the top ten, they displaced Snow Goose, Ring-billed Gull, and Cedar Waxwing from last week’s list.


Week 6:  May 2 – 8, 2011

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded140 (23)295 (32)366 (36)31935 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat15 (7)34 (13)42 (13)5549 (68)
# birds (and species) return4 (4)26 (12)50 (12)857 (37)
# species observed7898103202
# net hours407.51111113450751.1
# birds banded / 100 net hours34.426.632.362.9

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Intern:   Matthew Von Bornhoft
Assistants:  Nicolas Bernier, David Davey, Leah Den Besten, Rui De Jesus, Philippe Dunn, Jeff Harrison, Noemie Laplante, Le Duing Lang, Francine Marcoux, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Benoit Piquette, Kate St-Jean, Patricia Stotland, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman

Notes:  Although we lost a full day and most of a second to rain, it was a productive week at MBO for this time of year, with over 50 species observed per day over the last three days, and a total of 78 for the week.  The 140 birds banded is more than 100 above the record low of 37 in this week last year, and within a few of the record high of 148 in 2006.  Interestingly, we have made several references already this spring to how observations are similar to what we observed in 2006, and it seems we haven’t broken out of that pattern yet.

We added another 14 species to our list of species observed this spring, bringing our cumulative total to over 100, with another four weeks yet to go before the end of our migration monitoring program.  This week’s new additions were American Wigeon, Green Heron, Solitary Sandpiper, American Kestrel, Great Horned Owl, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Western Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and Bobolink. All of these except the owl were also new arrivals for 2011.  The pair of wigeons swimming in the back pond was a particularly good sighting, as this species is a rare and irregular visitor to MBO, with records in only three previous years, and none before now outside of April.  The influx of new migrants also contributed to 8 species being added to our list of birds banded this spring and this year:  House Wren, Brown Thrasher, Western Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, White-crowned Sparrow, Common Grackle, and American Goldfinch.  New returns for the year were Northern Cardinal and American Goldfinch.

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (30)  [5]1.  Canada Goose (143)  [1]
1.  White-throated Sparrow (30)  [3]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (54)  [2]
3.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (26)  [7]3.  Cedar Waxwing (28)  [-]
4.  Red-winged Blackbird (15)  [4]4.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (27)  [-]
5.  Swamp Sparrow (7)  [10]5.  White-throated Sparrow (26)  [5]
6.  American Robin (6)  [5]6.  American Crow (20)  [4]
7.  Cedar Waxwing (3)  [-]7.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (18)  [-]
7.  Common Yellowthroat (3)  [-]8.  Black-capped Chickadee (17)  [6]
9.  Hairy Woodpecker (2)  [-]9.  American Robin (14)  [7]
9.  Black-capped Chickadee (2)  [10]
9.  House Wren (2)  [-]
9.  Black-and-white Warbler (2)  [-]
9.  American Goldfinch (2)  [-]
10.  Slate-colored Junco (13)  [3]

 

On the list of species banded in week 6, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and White-throated Sparrow have each taken the top spot twice in the past four years, so it’s only appropriate that this year they share the number one position.  The big surprise this week is Yellow-rumped Warbler in third place.  We’ve never before banded more than two of them in week 6 – in fact, the only time we’ve banded so many in one week in spring was in week 8 in 2009.  Perhaps the above average numbers reflect the “bumper crop” we observed last fall; it will be interesting to see how many more we observe over the next few weeks.  Red-winged Blackbird has been in the top three for week 6 in all previous years, but got pushed down to fourth place this year.  Swamp Sparrows were unusually numerous in the nets this week, and a second week in a row with 6 American Robins banded extends the spring record total for that species.

For the third week in a row, we observed more Canada Geese than any other species, with Red-winged Blackbird in second place; this mirrors the results from three of the past four years (in 2008 Red-winged Blackbird got pushed down one spot by a late surge of Snow Geese).  Continuing their yo-yo pattern this spring, Cedar Waxwing jumped back into the top ten all the way up at #3. just ahead of unusually strong numberse of Ruby-crowned Kinglet and White-throated Sparrow.  Yellow-rumped Warbler cracked the top ten for the first time ever this early in spring, hopefully a good omen.  Conversely, this is the first time we’ve had Slate-colored Junco remain on the list this late in the season.


 

Week 7:  May 9 – 15, 2011

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded129 (30)424 (44)495 (48)32064 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat11 (7)45 (16)53 (16)5560 (68)
# birds (and species) return8 (5)34 (16)58 (16)865 (37)
# species observed94119123202
# net hours4001511153451151.1
# birds banded / 100 net hours32.328.132.362.7

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner, Lance Laviolette
Intern:   Matthew Von Bornhoft
Assistants:  Christine Barrie, Nicolas Bernier, David Bird, Rui De Jesus, Rejean Duval, Tammy Eliott, Jeff Harrison, Lisa Keelty, Francine Marcoux, Barbara MacDuff, Chris Murphy, Benoit Piquette, Francine Piquette, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman

Notes:  Once again this week rain interfered with operations, wiping out banding on both Saturday and Sunday.  This was all the more unfortunate given that the 62 birds banded on Friday tied our second-highest single day total in the history of our Spring Migration Monitoring Program.  Although the rain prevented us from opening nets on the weekend, census observations showed that there were still many birds around, so we hope that the weather will clear and allow us to have some productive banding sessions in week 8 before all these migrants move on.  The 67 species observed on Friday is also among the highest single-day counts in MBO’s history, and the best ever prior to mid-May.  This boded well for the MBO Green Team’s Birdathon on Saturday, which observed 44 species just along the census trail, and ended up with a total of 87 for the day, all within Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue – click here for the full report.

Despite the rain, the 43 species and 129 individuals banded this week are remarkably close to our six-year average for week 7, of 41 species and 127 individuals.  Similarly, the 119 species observed to this point in the season is just barely ahead of the average of 116 over the past six years.  In contrast, we have had unusually few returns so far this spring, with only 34 individuals recaptured that we banded in previous years, compared to an average of 55 by this point over the past five spring seasons (omitting 2005 from this comparison, since it was our first full spring, so fewer returns were possible).  It will be interesting to see whether these individuals are just late in coming back to MBO this year, or not returning at all.  However, among this week’s returns we did have a particularly interesting one in the form of a Veery banded at MBO in August 2006, recaptured in spring 2007, but not recorded again until this week.

Among the 119 species observed that we mentioned above, 21 made their first appearance for 2011 during the past week:  Black-crowned Night Heron, Lesser Yellowlegs, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Least Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Bank Swallow, Veery, Swainson’s Thrush, Wood Thrush, Tennessee Warbler, Northern Parula, Blackburnian Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and House Finch.  The Black-crowned Night Heron was only the fifth record for MBO, all of them occurring in spring, and the first since April 2009.  The Lesser Yellowlegs was an even more rare visitor, with only two previous records, in May and August of 2008.  This week we also banded 12 species for the first time this year:  Least Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Gray Catbird, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.  This marks the first time we have banded a Blackpoll Warbler prior to week 8, and is only the second time we have even observed the species at MBO before mid-May.

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Red-winged Blackbird (23)  [4]1.  Canada Goose (120)  [1]
2.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (22)  [3]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (47)  [2]
3.  Cedar Waxwing (9)  [7]3.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (29)  [7]
3.  Common Yellowthroat (9)  [7]4.  Ring-billed Gull (22)  [-]
5.  Yellow Warbler (7)  [-]5.  American Crow (17)  [6]
5.  White-throated Sparrow (7)  [1]6.  White-throated Sparrow (14)  [5]
5.  White-crowned Sparrow (7)  [-]7.  Cedar Waxwing (10)  [3]
8.  Magnolia Warbler (6)  [-]8.  Tree Swallow (9)  [-]
9.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (5)  [1]8.  Black-capped Chickadee (9)  [8]
9.  Lincoln’s Sparrow (5)  [-]10.  American Goldfinch (8)  [-]

 

There was considerable turnover in this week’s list of species banded, with four new species added to the top 10 (displacing Swamp Sparrow, American Robin, Hairy Woodpecker, and all four of the species tied for 10th spot last week: Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, Black-and-white Warbler, and American Goldfinch).  Also, the two species tied for the top spot last week (Ruby-crowned Kinglet and White-throated Sparrow) were knocked down to the bottom half of this week’s list.  Red-winged Blackbird was number one this week, as has been the case for week 7 in four of six previous years.  It was followed closely by another strong showing from Yellow-rumped Warbler, which has now eclipsed its previous spring high of 47 individuals banded, set in 2008.  The 5 Lincoln’s Sparrows this week was noteworthy, given that in four of six previous spring programs, the season total for this species was 5 or fewer.  Although overall a rather common species at MBO in spring, Cedar Waxwing has typically been scarce during the second and third weeks of May, and only one individual had previously been banded in week 7, so this week’s third place ranking was quite a surprise.

Yet again, for a fourth consecutive week, Canada Goose topped the list of species observed by a wide margin over Red-winged Blackbird in second place.  Although this ranking is the same as last year, and Canada Goose also took top spot for week 7 in 2009, the mean count this week is more than double the highest previous record for this time of year and reflects the continued passage of large flocks of migrants much later than usual.  Although this is traditionally the peak week for spring migration of Yellow-rumped Warbler, the counts this week were still surprisingly high, nearly double the previous record observed in 2008, and close to four times the mean count for week 7 over the past six years.  The remainder of the top ten is a fairly typical mix of May migrants and local residents.


Week 8:  May 16 – 22, 2011

 

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded198 (38)622 (53)693 (57)32262 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat26 (12)71 (20)79 (20)5586 (68)
# birds (and species) return15 (7)49 (17)73 (16)880 (37)
# species observed98129133202
# net hours2791790181351430.1
# birds banded / 100 net hours7134.738.262.7

 

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner, Lance Laviolette
Intern:   Matthew Von Bornhoft
Assistants:  Christine Barrie, Nicolas Bernier, David Davey, Rui De Jesus, Sarah Dixon, Meghan Laviolette, Francine Marcoux, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Pierre Molina, Chris Murphy, Benoit Piquette, Patricia Stotland

Notes:  The low-pressure system that moved in late last week remained in place for the first half of this week too.  Banding was completely washed out for four straight days (Saturday of last week continuing through Tuesday of this week), the first time in our history that weather has caused such a long gap in our operations.  Of course our dedicated censusers still proceeded with their counts daily, and they got good results, with an average of 45 species over those four days.  However, knowing such a diversity of species was present around the peak of migration made it all the more unfortunate that we could not open the nets.  This latest stretch of rain has caused the back pond to rise high enough to put net H1 out of commission again due to flooding.  That’s not surprising, given that by May 15, the rainfall for the month was already several millimetres more than the average for all of May, and more than double what was recorded in the full month last year.

Despite that gloomy introduction, we had plenty of noteworthy observations this week, as usual.  On Tuesday a Mourning Warbler was heard singing in the rain, and it remained present for the rest of the week, leading us to wonder whether it might consider breeding at MBO.  The same day, a Green Heron was seen at close range in the sumacs near the C nets, and an American Bittern was seen in a rather odd place, along the path between the D and E nets.  It too hung around for much of the week, and we are curious whether the higher than usual water level in the ponds will tempt it to stay for summer.  Other highlights of the week included a singing Pine Siskin near net D2, and the group of 6 Bobolinks continuing to hang out together and sing in the field.  

As much as we lament the rain for shutting us down on many days, it may actually have been to our advantage by concentrating the movement of northbound migrants.  By the time we were able to operate regular net hours on Friday and Saturday we banded decent numbers for spring (30 and 33 respectively), and then on Sunday we shattered the single-day spring record of 67 birds banded (set May 20, 2009) by over 50%, with 102 birds of 26 species banded (the previous spring record was 22 species, on the same date in 2009), plus another 10 recaptures.  The total number banded this spring is now 617, slightly ahead of the previous best at the end of week 8 (602 in 2006).

Many of the mid/late spring migrants made their first appearances this week, along with a couple of uncommon species that we don’t record every spring.  The pleasant surprises were Great Egret (only our second record ever) and Peregrine Falcon (seen for the fourth time in seven spring seasons), while the annual visitors making their return were American Bittern, Traill’s Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Red-eyed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler, Canada Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, and Mourning Warbler.  We also added 9 species to the list of birds banded this spring, bringing the cumulative total to 53 species, which is slightly below average for this point in the season.  The new additions this week were Northern Parula, Cape May Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Ovenbird, Wilson’s Warbler, Canada Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and Pine Siskin. This week the only new return species for the year was Gray Catbird.  Among the individual returns of interest were a Veery banded on August 27, 2008, and a Yellow Warbler that we have recaptured every spring since banding it in May 2007.

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (48)  [2]1.  Red-winged Blackbird (48)  [2]
2.  Tennessee Warbler (23)  [-]2.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (26)  [3]
3.  Red-winged Blackbird (13)  [1]3.  American Crow (15)  [5]
4.  Common Yellowthroat (10)  [3]4.  Ring-billed Gull (14)  [4]
5.  Blackpoll Warbler (8)  [-]5.  Cedar Waxwing (13)  [7]
5.  Magnolia Warbler (8)  [8]6.  Yellow Warbler (12)  [-]
5.  Northern Waterthrush (8)  [-]7.  Baltimore Oriole (11)  [-]
8.  American Redstart (7)  [-]8.  Canada Goose (10)  [1]
8.  Baltimore Oriole (7)  [-]9.  Tree Swallow (9)  [8]
10.  Nashville Warbler (6)  [-]
10.  Yellow Warbler (6)  [5]10.  American Goldfinch (9)  [10]

For a second week in a row there was a considerable amount of change in the top ten list of species banded.  Yellow-rumped Warbler took over top spot, a first for the species at any point in spring, though of course it is often the most abundant species by far in falI. In second place was Tennessee Warbler, which had been number one in this week back in 2009, and number two in 2007, but has missed the top ten in all other years (another two-year pattern appears to be emerging, like the oscillation of Yellow-rumped Warblers in fall).  Warblers were dominant this week, taking all but two spots in the list, with Red-winged Blackbird and Baltimore Oriole being the only exceptions.  Whereas the blackbird is always in the top 10 at this time of year, the oriole has only cracked the list in three of six previous years.  Among the other seven warblers on this week’s list, only Yellow, Magnolia, and Common Yellowthroat can be considered regulars in the top ten for week 8; Northern Waterthrush has been on the list in two previous years, Nashville Warbler in one, and this marks the first appearance of Blackpoll Warbler and American Redstart this early in the season.  The redstart count is particularly impressive, as previously we had never banded more than 6 in an entire spring season, even though it is a much more common fall migrant.

Canada Goose finally dropped out of top spot among species observed, tumbling all the way to 8th place, reflecting the departure of the last flocks of migrants.  Red-winged Blackbird moved up to #1, where it has been in week 8 in three of six previous years.  In top spot in the other years has been Ring-billed Gull, which was only the fourth most abundant species this week.  Paralleling the record number of individuals banded this week, Yellow-rumped Warbler, an unprecedented mean daily count propelled it into second place.  Cedar Waxwing moved up into the top 5 this week, but only a couple of them ended up getting banded.  Tree Swallow and American Goldfinch remained near the bottom of the list, while Black-capped Chickadee and White-throated Sparrow dropped out this week, displaced by increasing numbers of Yellow Warblers and Baltimore Orioles.   


Week 9:  May 23 – 29, 201

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded248 (36)870 (62)941 (66)32510 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat52 (14)124 (25)132 (25)5639 (68)
# birds (and species) return9 (6)58 (17)82 (17)889 (37)
# species observed94135139202
# net hours4062196221951836.1
# birds banded / 100 net hours61.139.642.462.7

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Intern:   Matthew Von Bornhoft
Assistants:  Nicolas Bernier, Sue Bishop, David Davey, Rui De Jesus, Leah den Besten, Sarah Dixon, Philippe Dunn, Tammy Elliot, Marcel Gahbauer, Lisa Keelty, Diana Kirkwood, Betsy McFarlane, Barbara MacDuff, Ahmad Shah, Patricia Stotland, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman

Notes:  True to form for this spring, we again had periods of rain this week, and the back pond remained high enough to keep net H1 out of commission.  Despite being unable to use one of our most productive nets, the number of birds banded this week was consistently good, leading to the second-highest total for a spring week ever, behind only the 299 individuals banded in week 8 of 2009.  Combined with the above-average numbers to date this season, this week’s results pushed us to a new record high count for the spring migration monitoring program at MBO, eclipsing the 828 birds banded in 2008, with a few days of banding yet to come in week 10.

Before we get into the details of this week’s activity at MBO, we want to highlight the efforts of the five teams that participated in this year’s Baillie Birdathon to raise funds in support of MBO and the James L. Baillie Memorial Fund for Bird Research and Preservation.  The MBO Green Team got things started on May 14, spending most of their time on foot at MBO and the Morgan Arboretum, and tallying 87 species despite enduring rain for most of the day.  On May 18, the Red-eyed Wearios (our most successful team of fundraisers) explored southwestern Quebec and the eastern tip of Ontario, reaching a total of 107 species.  On May 22, Marie-Anne Hudson and Marcel Gahbauer (lacking a snappy team name) found 92 species in and around Ottawa.  The next day, Marcel joined up with the Raven Loon-a-tits for a Quebec-only Birdathon that stretched from Mauricie National Park to Dundee in the very southwest tip of the province, and produced a count of 142 species.  The same day, the Laughing Bonaparte’s (a welcome new addition to our group of teams this year) reached an impressive total of 160 species by exploring various sites around Kingston, Ontario.  We heartily thank all participants for their time in the field and efforts at fundraising, and strongly encourage all our readers to check out the reports below, and make a contribution to the team of your choice if you have not already done so. As of May 31, we have raised just over $8,500 … please help us reach $10,000!

MBO Green Team
Red-eyed Wearios
Marie-Anne Hudson
Raven Loon-a-Tits
Laughing Bonaparte’s

 

Meanwhile back at MBO, the rain this week was more cooperative than usual, in that it fell mostly in the afternoon and overnight, so there was only one morning with net hours severely curtailed due to weather.  Species diversity remained high this week, with daily estimated totals reaching between 55 and 58 on all but two days, and ranging from 44 to 67 overall. Both the number of species (36) and individuals (247) banded this week were new high counts for week 9.  However, the total of 56 returns so far this spring remains well below the range of 73 to 110 recorded at this point of the season over the past five years, and is a particularly noteworthy deviation since the count had been increasing steadily each year since 2006.  We will explore this result in more detail in the full seasonal report.

By this time of spring, the number of new arrivals is tapering off, but we still had six species observed for the first time this week:  Black-billed Cuckoo, Chimney Swift, Alder Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, and Carolina Wren. The wren was observed for just the second time in MBO’s history, the previous sighting having been on June 2, 2009.

The list of species banded for the first time this spring was a longer one this week, including the aforementioned Black-billed Cuckoo, plus Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, four flycatchers (Traill’s, Yellow-bellied, Great Crested, and Eastern Kingbird), Red-eyed Vireo, and two of the later warbler migrants (Black-throated Green and Mourning).

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Tennessee Warbler (46)  [2]1.  Red-winged Blackbird (39)  [1]
2.  Blackpoll Warbler (31)  [5]2.  Cedar Waxwing (25)  [5]
3.  Cedar Waxwing (24)  [-]3.  Tree Swallow (20)  [9]
4.  Traill’s Flycatcher (17)  [-]4.  Ring-billed Gull (17)  [4]
5.  Northern Waterthrush (15)  [5]5.  Cliff Swallow (16)  [-]
6.  Yellow Warbler (13)  [10]6.  Blackpoll Warbler (15)  [-]
7.  Magnolia Warbler (12)  [5]7.  American Crow (15)  [3]
8.  Wilson’s Warbler (8)  [-]8.  Yellow Warbler (15)  [6]
9.  Canada Warbler (7)  [-]9.  Tennessee Warbler (14)  [-]
9.  Common Yellowthroat (7)  [4]
9.  American Goldfinch (7)  [-]
10.  American Goldfinch (11)  [10]

The top two spots on this week’s list of species banded are remarkably reminiscent of this week in 2009, when we banded 44 Tennessee and 25 Blackpoll Warblers – and a dramatic difference from last year, when our spring totals for these species were 7 and 6, respectively.  Cedar Waxwing continued its erratic spring at MBO, bouncing back on the list in third place.  However, the biggest surprise of the week might be Traill’s Flycatcher, considering that our previous record for a full spring season was only 15. Interestingly though, this marks the third consecutive year the species has been in the top 10 during week 9, rising in rank each year, after having missed the list in all previous years.  The Northern Waterthrush count was also strong, matching the best previous count of 15 in week 8 of 2009.  Just making it on the list in a tie for ninth place was American Goldfinch, which has been unusually scarce so far this spring, with just 16 individuals banded to date (compared with between 32 and 111 in previous spring seasons).   Five more warblers rounded out the top ten, with Canada Warbler standing out, given that the seven banded this week amount to half of our cumulative total over the previous six spring seasons!  Again there was a lot of turnover in this week’s list, with Nashville Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart, Red-winged Blackbird, and Baltimore Oriole dropping off from the week 8 edition.

Among species observed, Red-winged Blackbird remained on top for a second week in a row, not surprisingly as it has always been among the top two in week 9.  More unexpected was Cedar Waxwing in second place, its highest ever ranking at this time of spring, and with considerably more individuals present than the previous week 9 high of 16 per day.  Both Tree and Cliff Swallows moved up significantly this week, while Ring-billed Gull stayed put in fourth place again.  Rounding out the list were regular suspects American Crow and American Goldfinch, as well as three warblers.  The mean daily count of 15 Blackpoll Warblers was a new record high for MBO in any season, and the same is true of the 14 Tennessee Warblers.  Falling out of the top ten this week were Canada Goose (for the first time this spring), Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Baltimore Oriole.


Week 10:  May 30 – June 5, 2011

THIS WEEKTHIS SPRING2006 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded36 (17)906 (62)977 (66)32546 (107)
# birds (and species) repeat6 (5)130 (25)138 (25)5645 (68)
# birds (and species) return3 (3)62 (17)86 (17)893 (37)
# species observed80136140202
# net hours2402436245952076.1
# birds banded / 100 net hours1537.239.762.5

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Intern:   Matthew Von Bornhoft
Assistants:  Christine Barrie, Nicolas Bernier, Averill Craig, Ian Craig, Rui De Jesus, Lisa Keelty, Betsy McFarlane, Barbara MacDuff, Benoit Piquette, Gordon Southward, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman

Notes:  As usual, spring migration came to an abrupt end in week 10, but we still had some late stragglers moving through MBO in this final week of our seventh Spring Migration Monitoring Program.  Our tradition is to stop banding on June 1, which tends to be around when the latest migrants take off.  This year’s results seemed to support that notion, with a full morning of banding on the final day yielding just six individuals.  More noticeably, diversity was still high over the final two days of May, with 59 species recorded each day, but then dropped to 48 the next morning, and tapered off to between 34 and 44 for the remainder of the week.

For the first time in our seven years of the Spring Migration Monitoring Program, we did not band any new species in the final week of the season, and had only one more addition to our list of species observed this spring, an Eastern Towhee on June 2 (just the fifth ever record for MBO).  Our total of 136 species observed is just above the second-lowest spring count of 135 from 2007, though it is worth noting that aside from the unusually high counts of 146 in 2009 and 148 in 2006, the total has consistently been between 134 and 139.  The 62 species banded this spring is right on our six-year average, but the 900 individuals banded is a new record, eclipsing the 2008 total of 828 by nearly 10%. 

Just over one quarter of the species banded this spring (i.e. 16 of 62) were in record numbers for the season.  Most noteworthy was Yellow-rumped Warbler, our most abundant species this season with a total of 102 banded, more than double the previous spring record of 47 set in 2008.  Two other warblers doubled their previous high, Canada Warbler with 10 (compared to 5 in 2007) and American Redstart (13, vs. 6 in each of 2005, 2008, and 2009), as did Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (5, vs. 2 in 2006) and American Tree Sparrow (15, vs. 7 in 2006).  Other species with more modest increases over previous record counts were Black-billed Cuckoo (1 vs. 0), Hairy Woodpecker (4 vs. 3), Yellow-shafted Flicker (3 vs. 2), Traill’s Flycatcher (19 vs. 15), Eastern Kingbird (3 vs. 2), Red-eyed Vireo (5 vs. 3), House Wren (5 vs. 4), American Robin (29 vs. 18), Northern Waterthrush (28 vs. 26), Common Yellowthroat (30 vs. 28), and Lincoln’s Sparrow (10 vs. 9).

Conversely, despite the overall good results this season there were also five species with fewer individuals banded than in any previous spring.  We banded only 4 Tree Swallows (previous low 8; average 13), 1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak (previous low 2; average 7), 6 Song Sparrows (previous low 14; average 20), 7 Baltimore Orioles (previous low 11; average 15), and 17 American Goldfinches (previous low 32; average 55).

SPRING SEASON TOP TEN BANDED 
# individuals banded 2010# individuals banded 2009
1.  Cedar Waxwing (7)  [3]1.  Canada Goose (36)  [-]
2.  Blackpoll Warbler (5)  [2]2.  Red-winged Blackbird (32)  [1]
3.  Northern Waterthrush (3)  [5]3.  Cedar Waxwing (26)  [2]
3.  Common Grackle (3)  [-]4.  Ring-billed Gull (25)  [4]
5.  Traill’s Flycatcher (2)  [4]5.  American Crow (19)  [7]
5.  Gray Catbird (2)  [-]6.  Yellow Warbler (10)  [8]
5.  Yellow Warbler (2)  [6]7.  Common Grackle (9)  [-]
5.  Wilson’s Warbler (2)  [8]8.  Cliff Swallow (8)  [5]
5.  Red-winged Blackbird (2)  [-]9.  Tree Swallow (7)  [3]
9.  Common Yellowthroat (7)  [-]
9.  Baltimore Oriole (7)  [-]

With only 36 birds banded this week, the top ten list is a bit thinner than it has been in recent weeks, and we omitted the eight species tied for tenth place with one individual each.  Cedar Waxwing edged upward to take top spot, which makes the fifth time in the seven years of spring migration monitoring that it has been number one in the final week of the season.  In the other two years, Blackpoll Warbler was number one, and this year it came in as the runner-up, for a second week in a row.  The three Northern Waterthrushes this week were enough to set a new spring record with a total of 28 banded this season.  On the contrary, this week’s three Common Grackles were barely enough to tie the existing record low of 11 for a spring season, set in 2008.  The remaining species on the list were a mix of presumed local birds (Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird), and late migrants (Traill’s Flycatcher, Wilson’s Warbler).

On the list of species observed, we have a surprise with Canada Goose landing back on top after not even making the top ten last week.  This was largely due to several flocks of 30-50 geese flying overhead, a phenomenon noted by a variety of observers across southern Quebec this week; the presumption is that they were already heading to molting areas. The resurgence in goose numbers bumped Red-winged Blackbird and Cedar Waxwing down one spot each from last week, while Ring-billed Gull remained in fourth place and American Crow moved back up to fifth.  Interestingly, this is the same top five as in week 7 this spring, except for Cedar Waxwing replacing Yellow-rumped Warbler.  The rest of the top ten reflects a fairly typical mix of summer species at MBO.

With another spring program successfully completed, we now shift our focus to the birds breeding at MBO.  For a third year, we will be keeping track of them through the MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship) program, which will involve seven full-morning visits over the course of June and July.  We will post a summary report of that brief season in early August, just as fall migration begins again.