McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

SPRING MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM

Week 1:  March 28 - April 3, 2006

Welcome to the McGill Bird Observatory weekly report.  Click here for a complete listing of our archives.
Comments or questions are welcome at "mbo AT migrationresearch.org".

PICTURE OF THE WEEK:



In this first week of early spring, these grass blades sprouting vigorously from one of
the stumps just outside our banding cabin are a fitting symbol of the season.
(Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)-

MBO gratefully acknowledges the financial  support provided for the 2006 Spring Migration Monitoring Program by the James L. Baillie Memorial Fund of Bird Studies Canada

 

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THIS WEEK

THIS SPRING

2006 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

--

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143 (15)

5196 (93)

# birds (and species) repeat

--

--

91 (5)

984 (41)

# birds (and species) return

--

--

21 (5)

99 (15)

# species observed

37

37

48

172

# net hours

--

--

97.0

6519.1

# birds banded / 100 net hours

--

--

147.4

79.6

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Bander-in-charge:  Marcel Gahbauer
Assistants:  Shawn Craik, Christina Donehower, Kate Earl, Barbara Frei, Gay Gruner, Marie-Anne Hudson, Jeremy Labrecque, Mark O'Connor

Notes:   At MBO, the seasons are defined more by the movements of birds, rather than the calendar.  As such, the fall season begins at the start of August, to coincide with the onset of migration by the early warblers, and ends 13 weeks later as the late sparrows and thrushes are moving out.  In spring, the endpoint is easy to identify as the first week in June, when the last northbound migrants are expected.  However, the start is more difficult to define - early American Robins and Red-winged Blackbirds have already been back for a few weeks, but there's no question that mid-March in Montreal is still more like winter than spring.  The last week of March is typically when a larger number of species begin arriving, and therefore the spring season at MBO is defined as the 10-week span from March 28 through June 5.  The formal Spring Migration Monitoring Program (SMMP) will operate daily this year for 60 days, from April 5 through June 3.

This week we took advantage of the beautiful sunny and warm weather to set everything up for SMMP.  The 11 core nets have been erected for the season, we've done a good burst of spring cleaning inside, and we've started to apply gravel and boardwalks to the wettest parts of the site to make the walking safer and easier for everyone.  Plenty of work remains to be done as the season progresses, but it's a good start at least.

The birds have already been streaming in over the past week, with new species added to the yearly checklist almost daily.  Sunday was the best day, with 32 species recorded on census alone, including 4 new arrivals for the year - Winter Wren, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, and Fox Sparrow.  At least two Eastern Phoebes have already been on territory for a few days, and Song Sparrows have been increasing exponentially (the first one on Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, 4 on Friday, 8 on Saturday, and 17 on Sunday).  Also of note, at least 9 Wood Ducks are scoping out the newly enlarged back pond, and a pair of Canada Geese seems to have already scoped out a territory in there too.  The local Red-shouldered Hawk has been circling low and calling almost daily, and there have been as many as three others circling above him at once.  Last but certainly not least, we had MBO's second ever Bald Eagle sighting on Friday, a fourth-year bird with an almost white tail and head.

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2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.