McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

SPRING MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM

Week 4:  April 18 - 24, 2009

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PICTURE OF THE WEEK:



What a first week of spring banding!  We've had a really strange assortment of species
hit the nest ... the most exciting of which is likely this fellow, a second-year male
Rusty Blackbird.  We've been trying to band these guys with little success so far
(three individuals over five years), so here's hoping he's the first of many this year!
(Photo by Gay Gruner)

 

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THIS WEEK

THIS SPRING

2009 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

39 (20)

39 (20)

71 (22)

18992 (105)

# birds (and species) repeat

8 (3)

8 (3)

8 (3)

3356 (65)

# birds (and species) return

13 (4)

13 (4)

19 (7)

473 (32)

# species observed

64

71

78

197

# net hours

398

398

422

30887.3

# birds banded / 100 net hours

9.8

9.8

16.8

61.5

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:  Marie-Anne Hudson, Gay Gruner
Censusers/assistants:  Veronica Aponte, Jean Bacon, Jean Beaudreault, Mike Beaupré, David Davey, Benoît Duthu, Simon Duval, Samuel Denault, David Fishman, Emily Gray, Jeff Harrison, Marjolaine Lagacé, Lance Laviolette, Barbara MacDuff, Eve Marshall, Mike Mayerhofer, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Chloé Nadeau-Perrier

Notes:  This spring continues to make us raise our collective eyebrows, especially now that we’re banding!  The fourth week of spring always shifts our focus from census-only to full operation, which means catching and observing birds we might not ordinarily see otherwise. If only the weather would cooperate: this week’s banding efforts were curtailed by strong northeast winds and periods of rain, so we’re surprised we caught anything really. Not having many birds to band certainly makes it easier to observe, so we’re had a very productive week for observation: 64 species this week (slightly down from 69 last year at this time), 71 so far this season (slightly up from 69) and 78 for the year (up from 70)!  New species observed (chronologically) for the include (S = season, Y = Year, nothing = both): on Saturday; Common Loon, American Green-winged Teal, Sharp-shinned Hawk (S), Solitary Sandpiper, Belted Kingfisher, Common Raven (S), Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and Purple Finch; on Sunday; Swamp Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow; on Monday; American Bittern, Cliff Swallow and Ruby-crowned Kinglet; on Tuesday; Black-crowned Night-heron; and on Thursday; Gadwall, Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, and Virginia Rail. New species banded are, well, all of them!  We think it’s a pretty interesting list, so we’re reproducing (chronologically) it here for all to see, despite the fact that it’s 20 names long: American Robin, Brown Creeper, White-throated Sparrow, Slate-colored Junco, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Cedar Waxwing, Song Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Eastern Phoebe, European Starling, Pine Siskin, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-winged Blackbird, Rusty Blackbird, and Common Grackle.

We know we’re starting to sound like a broken record, but this week’s top ten is almost identical to last week’s, making it rather difficult to come up with anything new to say.  The only new species for the week comes in at number eight, reflecting the relatively large number of Slate-colored Juncos moving through and hanging around the back of the banding cabin. We were able to catch a few of them, launching them to the top of the top ten banded species list. After getting used to the ridiculously high numbers of last fall’s top ten, this week must look rather sad in comparison… but never fear!  The migrants are coming…

We’ve really had a wonderful week with tons of keen and dedicated observers and helpers. This has made net maintenance easy and quick, and we’ve had a chance to get a lot done around the site. We’d like to thank everyone for starting this spring off with a bang – this will be our best spring yet! 

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

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

1.  Slate-colored Junco (8) [-]

1.  Greater Snow Goose (155.7) [1]

2.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (5) [-]

2.  Canada Goose (150.9) [2]

3.  Northern Cardinal (3) [-]

3.  Red-winged Blackbird (44.3) [3]

4.  American Goldfinch (2) [-]

4.  American Crow (26.1) [5]

4.  Brown Creeper (2) [-]

5.  Ring-billed Gull (19.4) [7]

4.  Cedar Waxwing (2) [-]

6.  American Robin (18.4) [5]

4.  Golden-crowned Kinglet (2) [-]

7.  Song Sparrow (16.6) [6]

4.  Red-winged Blackbird (2) [-]

8.  Slate-colored Junco (15.1) [-]

4.  White-throated Sparrow (2) [-]

9.  Black-capped Chickadee (10.7) [8]

10.  11 species tied at one individual each

10.  Wood Duck (10.1) [10]



We were taking bets as to what the first unbanded species to hit the nets would be this spring, and strangely enough, none of us guessed American Robin!  This second-year male was the first bird banded this spring.
(Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

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