Summer – 2008

June 6 – 30, 2008

PICTURE OF THE WEEK

Operations were scaled back for summer as usual, to allow time for other projects and to provide ‘our’ birds with a nice quiet place to rear their young. These little guys were some of the few we banded once they were ready to head out into the world. (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

 THIS MONTHTHIS SUMMER2007 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded10 (1)10 (1)838 (64)13816 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat198 (25)2424 (60)
# birds (and species) return92 (17)423 (30)
# species observed5050139194
# net hours002921.224858.0
# birds banded / 100 net hoursn/an/a28.455.5

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls).

Bander-in-charge: Marie-Anne Hudson Assistants:Gay Gruner, Barbara MacDuff, Sarah Marteinson, Chris Murphy

Notes: June’s first census was the 6th, the first official day of our summer season. It picked up a lone Blackpoll Warbler, surely winging its way as fast as it could towards its breeding grounds. The censuses have been going about once or twice a week thanks to our hardy censusers (please see above). The average number of species seen during each visit (five in June) ranged between 29 and 36, however the total number of species observed during the month of June was 50, down from 60 in 2007.

Most of the birds that remained at MBO have settled down to breed, concentrating on raising a brood rather than singing. Most noticeably, the Common Yellowthroats have gone quiet, opting instead to skulk around the bushes and ‘cheack’ at you as you walk by. So far we’ve had young Canada Geese, Black-capped Chickadee, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Swamp Sparrow. We’re eager to see what July brings!

While this photo is a little less than interesting, what Sarah is pointing to (see her shadow?) is a patch of disturbed gravel that we suspect is sheltering another Snapping Turtle nest. Those of you with good memories will remember we had roughly 30 young ones come clambering out last September, much to the delight over everyone on site. We’re hoping the same will happen this time around! (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

The list of birds banded this month is comprised almost entirely of almost-fledged juveniles, with the exception of one after-hatch year Tree Swallow who was quickly banded after it wouldn’t budge off the nest.

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

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
1. Tree Swallow (10)Red-winged Blackbird (25.6) [1]
 American Goldfinch (8.6) [2]
 Ring-billed Gull (7.8) [-]
  Tree Swallow (7.6) [3]
 Yellow Warbler (6.6)[6]
 Cliff Swallow (6.2)[-]
 Song Sparrow (6.0) [7]
 American Crow (5.6) [4]
 Baltimore Oriole (5.4) [8]
 Common Yellowthroat (5.2) [9]

The ten species most frequently observed this month were about the same as the last week of the spring season, though their order of abundance changed somewhat, and a couple of substitutions were made. Red-winged Blackbirds continue to dominate, while American Goldfinch have increased in abundance and American Crow have slipped down to eighth place. Ring-billed Gull inched on to the list due to some large flocks being seen feeding and swirling over the fields near MBO. Overall, this list represents the most common breeding species at MBO, and is quite similar to last June.

MBO is all a-flower at the moment, providing some lovely photographic distractions. (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

 

 


 

July 1 – 31, 2008

PICTURE OF THE WEEK

We visited le Nichoir again this year to band some young ones before their release; this baby-faced Brown Thrasher was just too cute. We wish it much luck as it wings its way south. (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

 THIS MONTHTHIS SUMMER2007 TOTALSITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded4 (1)14 (1)842 (64)13820 (105)
# birds (and species) repeat198 (25)2424 (60)
# birds (and species) return92 (17)423 (30)
# species observed4557139194
# net hours002912.224858.0
# birds banded / 100 net hoursn/an/a28.955.6

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge: Marie-Anne Hudson, Barbara Frei Assistants: Sheldon Andrews, Sophie Cauchon, Gay Gruner, Lance Laviolette, Barbara MacDuff, Chris Murphy, André Pelletier

Notes: This summer has beat all records in terms of passing quickly – we blinked and it was fall! Our last census of the summer season was conducted on the 30th of July, yielding dozens of young birds from this year. Young ones began appearing in June, and we’ve had, in addition to the ones listed last month, records of fledgling Red-eyed Vireo.  The average number of species seen during each visit ranged between 23 and 32, and the total number of species observed during the month of July was 45, a decrease from June and the 49 species from last July, but understandable due to fewer observation hours (and most of those were spent wrestling with vegetation and not paying terribly close attention to the birds flitting around).

The list of birds banded this month at MBO is a short one, and to be honest none of it was actually done at MBO-proper!  The four Tree Swallows banded were out of a nest box along the Arboretum road. Apparently momma swallow decided that a kestrel box would be a great place to raise a family. In addition we banded five Eastern Bluebirds, but at the Royal Montreal Golf Course. We certainly hope to get a call from them next year when those babies come back to breed. We were also asked to band the young birds that were raised at Le Nichoir by its hard-working staff, so that they might be able to keep track of them once released, either by spotting them hanging around in groups by the feeders, acclimating to their new environment, or by band number returns from birds that were found dead or killed, or ideally of course recaptured alive and well much later at MBO or other observatories. They didn’t find their way into our table however, as they’re in captivity (well, for now anyway).

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

# individuals bandedmean # individuals observed daily
Eastern Bluebird (5)American Crow (20.8) [8]
Tree Swallow (4)European Starling (19) [-]
 American Goldfinch (13.6) [2]
 Cliff Swallow (11.8) [6]
 Common Grackle (10.2) [-]
 Red-winged Blackbird (10.2) [1]
 Song Sparrow (8.8) [7]
 American Robin (5) [-]
 Common Yellowthroat (4.8) [10]
 Tree Swallow (4.8) [4]

The ten species most frequently observed this month were surprisingly different from last month’s, with three new species appearing on the list (flocks of young European Starling, Common Grackle and American Robin) and Red-winged Blackbird beginning its descent down the list as the adults pull their annual disappearance from MBO. Despite the differences between June and July, seven of last July’s top 10 species are again in this year’s top 10, just like last year. Another way to look at it is the following species, the ‘usual suspects’, were seen during every single summer census: American Crow, House Wren, American Robin, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, and American Goldfinch.

Our hard-working volunteers deserve a massive thank you for taming the vegetation around the net lanes and census route, and making our first annual MBO BBQ a hugely delicious affair. The net lanes have never been clearer, and the treetops have been trimmed a little so they’re no longer overshadowing our nets. We’re very excited about the upcoming fall season (our fifth already!), and hope to see you all out there soon.

What a relaxing way to spend a few minutes: taking photos of swaying grass. (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)