McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

WINTER POPULATION MONITORING

Week 19:  March 6-12, 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@migrationresearch.org

PICTURE OF THE WEEK:



Commonly recognized signs of spring include the return of American Robins and Red-winged
Blackbirds, but the increasingly bright plumage of American Goldfinches is also a good
indicator.  This second-year male is already showing a fair amount of black on the crown, and
had many yellow pin feathers growing in on the breast in addition to those visible in the photo.

(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

2006 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

21 (6)

300 (18)

127 (15)

5180 (93)

# birds (and species) repeat

19 (3)

162 (6)

83 (5)

976 (41)

# birds (and species) return

5 (2)

20 (5)

19 (5)

97 (15)

# species observed

21

50

34

171

# net hours

17

148.5

82.0

6504.1

# birds banded / 100 net hours

123.5

202.0

154.9

79.5

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Bander-in-charge:  Marcel Gahbauer
Assistants:  Shawn Craik, Kim Fernie, Gay Gruner, Marie-Anne Hudson, Betsy Mcfarlane

Notes:   Though our first spring migrant (a single Horned Lark on Tuesday) arrived this week, it is still very much winter at MBO.  The ponds remain fully frozen and the trails are blanketed in a good 30 cm of snow in most places.  Accordingly, the dominant birds at the feeders remain Common Redpolls.

Banding on Tuesday produced more Black-capped Chickadees than anything else - 8 new birds, plus 7 repeats, and two returns that we had not seen since we banded them last May and October.  This brings to well over 90 the number of individuals handled since the beginning of the winter season - far more than we would have expected to be using this area.  Of course, not all are here at the same time, and the fairly large proportion of unbanded chickadees at recent banding sessions suggests that at least some of the individuals which moved south last fall en masse are beginning to trickle back north.

Also on Tuesday, our list of species observed this winter reached 50, with the addition of not only the aforementioned Horned Lark, but also a Peregrine Falcon streaking through the site.  A couple of Red-winged Blackbirds on Friday were another welcome sign of spring, but no American Robins have been seen or heard yet.

A last-minute banding session on Saturday afternoon triggered by the beautiful weather yielded a Blue Jay - the first one we have banded this winter!  A mixed flock of Common Redpolls, American Goldfinches, and Pine Siskins was hanging around most of the time, and we caught a few of each except for the siskins.  Our last new bird of the day, a goldfinch, was our 300th bird banded this winter. 


The Common Redpolls are one aspect of winter that we will miss, but for now at least
they are showing no signs yet of abandoning our feeders.  (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)

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