Week 13:  October 24-30, 2005

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The hatch-year Northern Shrike above was the only one banded during this year's
Fall Migration Monitoring Program, and became the 78th species banded of the
season.  (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)


# birds (and species) banded 195 (20) 3226 (78) 3959 (84) 4880 (92)
# birds (and species) repeat 47 (9) 496 (33) 741 (36) 819 (41)
# birds (and species) return 2 (2) 41 (10) 72 (14) 72 (14)
# species observed 54 151 162 168
# net hours 281.1 3726.3 5381.1 6355.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours 69.4 86.6 73.6 76.8

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:  Marcel Gahbauer, Barbara Frei, Marie-Anne Hudson
Assistants:  Pierre Bannon, Jean Beaudreault, Elise Bolduc, Bianca Bourdeau, Martin Bowman, Shawn Craik, Christina Donehower, Lena Douris, Sarah Fraser, Gay Gruner, Keelan Jacobs, Andreanne Lortie, Barbara MacDuff, Don MacDuff, Francine Marcoux, Mike Mayer, Betsy McFarlane, Anthi Mimidakis, Frederic Paquet, Julie Pépin, Crissy Ranellucci, Natacha Raymond-Bleau

Notes:  Our thirteenth and final week of the 2005 Fall Migration Monitoring Program has come to an end.  Sincere thanks to all who have helped out since the beginning of August, especially the "regulars" who have been out once or more per week.  On the whole we've had a tremendously successful fall season, but it would not have been possible without all this help.

The October rainy season continued into this week, but at last by Thursday the skies dried up, and over our final weekend we had glorious sunshine.  As a result, we actually banded a few more birds than in week 12, and the decline in number of species observed compared to last week was only a small one.

As expected though, the bird community has taken on a decidedly wintry feel in this final week.  Not a single warbler was observed and just one vireo (a Blue-headed on Monday) was seen, and there were only a few other late-lingering birds:  Gray Catbird (Monday), Chipping Sparrow (Friday), and Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Sunday).  On the other hand, the "winter finches" were well represented with Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak, and Snow Bunting arriving in small numbers (the final three species all new additions to the fall list).  The Northern Shrike which arrived on Monday was also a first for the season, and the several flocks totaling 1180 scaup on Thursday were entirely new for MBO (likely they included both Lesser and Greater Scaup, but the only ones we had a chance to look at closely were all Lesser).  The flock of 34 Snow Buntings on our final day brought the season total to 151 species, many more than we had expected.

Slate-coloured Juncos dominated this week in the nets, with 79 individuals, representing over 40% of all birds banded.  Far behind in second place were Black-capped Chickadees with 31, but there seemed like many more due to the 30 recaptures we had during the week.  A surprise newcomer to the top 5 was Fox Sparrow with 20 - last year we banded only one for the whole fall season, and prior to this week our cumulative total was only 15!  Rounding out the final week's top 5 were American Robin (18) and American Tree Sparrow (16).

Meanwhile, a couple more nights of owling brought our season total of Northern Saw-whet Owls up to 17, the same as in 2004.  While the fall season for passerines has come to a close, we may yet try for owls a few more nights, if weather conditions are suitable.

A full report on the 2005 Fall Migration Monitoring Program will be prepared by mid-December, and will be posted on the MBO Banding Log page.  Banding will continue during the winter, but at a reduced frequency; the website updates will likely continue on a weekly basis.

The underwing of a Northern Saw-whet Owl, as viewed under ultraviolet light.  Doing so
allows for easy discrimination among the ages of primaries and secondaries.  For
example in the photo above there are three generations of feathers visible:  new (grown this
summer/fall) in the centre, fluorescing bright pink; four one-year-old feathers to their left
with an intermediate amount of pink; two-year-old feathers throughout the rest of the wing,
with only a bit of pink showing.  This allows us to determine that the bird is at least in its
third year, i.e. after-second-year.  (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)




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