McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

WINTER POPULATION MONITORING

Week 5:  November 28 - December 4, 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:


The tail of one of the Slate-coloured Juncos banded this week.  The narrow and tapered
shape of the outer rectrix is one of the factors used in identifying this as a hatch-year bird,
in this case a male by body plumage and wing length.  We have been recording the
extent of white on the tail, classifying the amount of it on the outer three rectrices
(r4 to r6).  This individual shows an unusual pattern in that there is also a narrow white
tip to all of the other tail feathers.  (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 27 (4) 160 (10) 4119 (84) 5040 (92)
# birds (and species) repeat 24 (3) 90 (5) 831 (36) 885 (41)
# birds (and species) return 2 (1) 5 (2) 77 (14) 75 (14)
# species observed 23 41 164 170
# net hours 12.0 63.5 5444.6 6419.1
# birds banded / 100 net hours 225.0 252.0 75.7 78.4

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

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

Notes:  Overall, temperatures remained below normal for most of the week, but Wednesday and Thursday were quite mild and pleasant.  On Wednesday, a new species for winter was spotted, a White-crowned Sparrow.  The next morning, although the calendar turned to December, we had some other seasonal rarities, including a Great Blue Heron gliding in to the south end of Stoneycroft Pond, a male Red-winged Blackbird giving an odd call behind the cabin, a pair of Mallards erupting out of the back ponds as we walked past, and a pair of Common Mergansers flying along the far side of the corn field.

Banding this week took place only on Thursday, and was again very successful.  For the first time in over two weeks, American Tree Sparrows were back in small numbers, and we banded a couple of them, along with a few of the many Juncos still hanging around.  Once again though the Black-capped Chickadees and American Goldfinches dominated.  We caught 25 chickadees, out of roughly 50 estimated in the area.  Of these, many were recaptures of birds banded in the late part of the Fall Migration Monitoring Program, but several were originally banded in Fall 2004 or Winter 2004/05, including two individuals with consecutive band numbers that we last caught in February 2005!  On the contrary, most of the goldfinches we are catching continue to be unbanded, indicating that either there is a very large flock in the area, or that the birds we are observing are late migrants.

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2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.