McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY
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Hudson, Barbara Frei
Notes: The end of the fall season came with a bit of a whimper, as two banding days were lost, and a few more hampered by high winds. The high-flyers that dominated the site at this time of year wouldn’t have ever gotten caught in the nets anyway, so we don’t think our numbers are terribly biased by the lack of banding. Last year the final week of the season showed a similar pattern of reduced net hours due to rain and wind and an even lower number of birds banded (94).
However, our census went on unabated, providing us with oodles of observations. We never could have even imagined the number of new species to visit us in this last week! New species observed include Cackling Goose, American Green-winged Teal, American Black Duck, Bohemian Waxwing, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, and Common Redpoll, bringing our total for the season to 144, a full ten species more than last fall.
The top 10 list of birds banded is a bit funny this week, since only a few of the species should be on the list. With six species tied for the last spot with two birds banded, a top six would be more appropriate this week. At least it gives a fair representation of the bird life on site – well, birds that are likely to be banded at any rate. We finally seemed to shake the October/bad weather curse and banded a good number of robins in our last week, bringing them to over 300 banded this October! The Black-capped Chickadee movement is still underway, keeping them high on the list (as opposed to last year when they weren’t even on it at all). The rest of our winter birds round out the table nicely, contrasting with the distinctly migratory set of birds from last year (Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Indigo Bunting, and Hermit Thrush).
The top 10 birds observed are very similar to last week’s, with only two new entries: Mallard and American Goldfinch. We assume it’s because we lamented the lack of Mallards in last week’s update that they showed up in huge flocks numbering over 200! Throw in the handful of American Black Ducks hiding in amongst them and you’ve got some very happy observers. Overall, birds were much more abundant this week than at the same time last year - most notably, over 20 times more Canada Geese, 12 times as many Mallards, and 5 times more Red-winged Blackbirds, plus more modest increases for American Robin and American Crow.
Exciting news! We just got the word in that one of our little Yellow-rumped Warblers was recaptured in Chestertown, Maryland, 17 days after it was banded at MBO on September 30th, 2006. We suppose it took the banding office a little time to process the recapture since banding records are only submitted in their entirety at the end of each year. Better late than never! This bird now joins the ranks of the banded Slate-coloured Junco recaptured in New Jersey, and the handful of locals found around Ste-Anne’s and Senneville. We very much look forward to what spring will bring. Please stay tuned for the fall report, and watch the photo library as we process updates to our species accounts during the winter months. It was a pleasure to work with each and every one of you! Thank you so much for your support – it’s so very much appreciated!
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