McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

WINTER POPULATION MONITORING

Week 1:  October 31 - November 6, 2005

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

PICTURE OF THE WEEK:


Northern Cardinals are among the 'regulars' at the feeders during the winter.  This
after-hatch-year female was banded at MBO in December 2004, and was not captured
again until this week, back at the new feeder array.  (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)
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Special thanks to Wildlifers in Baie D'Urfe for donating the seed to stock the feeders for MBO's Winter Monitoring Program - click here for information about the store.

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  THIS WEEK THIS WINTER 2005 TOTAL SITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded 56 (10) 56 (10) 4015 (84) 4936 (92)
# birds (and species) repeat 26 (5) 26 (5) 767 (36) 845 (41)
# birds (and species) return 1 (1) 1 (1) 73 (14) 73 (14)
# species observed 28 28 163 169
# net hours 26.0 26.0 5407.1 6381.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours 215.4 215.4 74.3 77.3

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Bander-in-charge:  Marcel Gahbauer
Assistants:  Shawn Craik, Lena Douris, Barbara Frei, Marie-Anne Hudson

Notes:  Our first week of the 2005/06 winter season was much quieter than the pace we have become accustomed to over the past three months of migration monitoring, but was productive nonetheless.  In just two half-mornings of banding, we caught over 50 new birds, bringing us to just over 4000 for the year, and we managed to add another new species to the MBO checklist.

With all but the hardiest of migrants now having left the area, the number of species seen this week dropped considerably to just 28.  Most of these are species which were present throughout last winter, but there were some notable exceptions, including Wood Duck, Fox Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird, all of which are likely to move on before much longer.  The weekly total also benefited from a nice raptor migration on Wednesday morning, featuring all three accipiter species, and at long last MBO's first Golden Eagle, being blown past us on a strong northwest tailwind.

Among the ten species banded this week, the dominant birds were American Goldfinch (23) and Slate-coloured Junco (18), together accounting for almost three-quarters of individuals banded.  The two Mourning Doves caught on Wednesday were the first ones banded at MBO since late last winter - they seem to be good at avoiding the nets during migration monitoring, but can't resist the lure of the feeders!

This is our second year of winter population monitoring, and we are hoping to achieve more even coverage than last year, thanks to being better prepared for the challenges of winter banding.  Again we are hoping to track the fluctuations in species numbers through the season, especially for the 'winter finches' which are more nomadic than most others.  Also, we expect to be recording 'returns' of individuals we banded here last winter.  Already in the past two weeks we have had returns of Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, and Slate-coloured Junco banded here last November or December.  The Junco is the most interesting of these, as it does not breed in this area, and therefore has migrated elsewhere for the breeding season, yet returned here for winter - a demonstration of site fidelity we would not have expected.  It will be interesting to see whether this individual stays here through the winter again, or migrates further this time, as adult Juncos tend to do.

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2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.