McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

SPRING MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM

Week 5:  April 25 - May 1, 2008

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:



So far so good - the Eastern Bluebird pair is hanging around, showing great interest in our
nest boxes and providing some great photo opportunities, including this one of the male
standing guard on top of nest box #38 (Photo by André Pelletier)

 

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THIS WEEK

THIS SPRING

2008 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

68 (12)

209 (21)

209 (21)

13187 (103)

# birds (and species) repeat

28 (10)

47 (11)

47 (12)

2273 (59)

# birds (and species) return

13 (5)

35 (8)

35 (8)

366 (29)

# species observed

71

80

81

191

# net hours

436.7

946.7

946.7

22892.5

# birds banded / 100 net hours

15.6

22.1

22.1

57.6

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:   Marie-Anne Hudson, Barbara Frei
Assistants: Alexandre Anctil, Jean Beaudreault, David Bird, Mark Brenchley, Duncan Brown, Sophie Cauchon, Anne Chen, Simon Duval, Gay Gruner, Jeff Harrison, Demetrios Kobiliris, Lance Laviolette, Céline Lecomte, Helen Leroux, Barbara and Don MacDuff, Mike Mayerhofer, Joe Peck, André Pelletier, Greg Rand, Crissy Ranellucci, Rodger Titman, Maria Waldron

Notes:  This past week will teach us not to be too quick to thank Mother Nature.  With temperatures dipping by 20 degrees, increasingly cold winds and a few showers, migration and banding were quite hampered.

Despite the frigid weather we were able to add 12 new species to the spring and 2008 lists, allowing us to catch up to and surpass last year in terms of species observed.  Also despite some rather slow nets, we’ve managed to band almost three times as many birds than last year at this time (though it should be noted that we’ve had double the net hours).  Three new species for the season were banded this week: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Brown Thrasher and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

The highlights of the week are dominated by indications of the breeding season that is quickly approaching if not already here: Tree Swallows so busy with courtship and fighting over nest boxes (no worries, we’ve put up several new boxes to accommodate these feisty little birds - thanks to Jeff Webster, Greg Weil, and Rodger Titman for these) that they fail to see the net directly in front of them, resulting in their spot in the top 10; the Eastern Bluebird pair bopping from nest box to nest box seeking the perfect home; several momma Red Squirrels moving babies and making new homes in both nest boxes and trees; and leopard and wood frogs, not to mention spring peepers croaking their little froggy hearts out in anticipation of the warm weather to come (we hope).  All this rounded out with some very nice sightings of a young Bald Eagle soaring over the site, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak (a sure sign of spring), and various avian chases and you’ve got a very nice week indeed.

This week’s top 10 banded species is tiny compared to last week’s.  The wave of kinglets appears to have passed, and without one female!  Either they’re more adept at avoiding the nets than the males, or we’ve yet to have them come through. True to form, there’s been a major shift in the top 10, though this is largely due to the small number of birds banded this week.  The White-throated Sparrows have taken over by far, followed by Red-winged Blackbirds (most if not all collected from the D nets), and then a handful of individuals from the remaining eight species.  Surely this is the only time/circumstance we’ll see both Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Brown Thrasher in the top ten.  Comparing this year to last year is a bit difficult since banding only occurred on one day last year, however, strangely enough, the top 10 tables are quite similar in composition.   

This week’s top 10 observed species is also very similar to last year’s, the only difference being the replacement of American Robins with White-throated Sparrows.  We’re curious to see whether this consistency will continue over the coming week.

This week's top 10 [last week's rank in brackets]

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

1.  White-throated Sparrow (27) [7]

1.  Canada Goose (203) [1]

2.  Red-winged Blackbird (11) [3]

2.  Red-winged Blackbird (49) [4]

3.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (6) [1]
Swamp Sparrow (6) [8]

3.  American Crow (24) [8]

4.  Ring-billed Gull (22) [3]

5.  American Goldfinch (5) [5]
Tree Swallow (5) [-]

5.  White-throated Sparrow (20) [-]

6.  Tree Swallow (12) [-]

7.  Yellow-rumped Sparrow (2) [-]
Song Sparrow (2) [6]
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2) [-]

7.  Song Sparrow (11) [7]

8.  American Goldfinch (11) [-]

9.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet(11) [6]

10.  Brown Thrasher (1) [-]

10.  Black-capped Chickadee (9) [-]



This was the week of the White-throated Sparrow at MBO!  Honourable mention goes to the woodpecker crew, with one Downy Woodpecker and two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers banded (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)


T
his young male Yellow-rumped Warbler is sure to be followed by many more over the coming weeks. (Photo by Barbara Frei)


This male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was followed by a female in the exact same spot in the net!  These were only the 7th and 8th ones banded at MBO.
(Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

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