McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

SPRING MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM

Week 9:  May 23 - 29, 2009

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:



This little second-year female is only the second Blackburnian Warbler we've ever
banded in spring at MBO.
(Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)
 

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THIS WEEK

THIS SPRING

2009 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

225 (34)

773 (64)

805 (66)

19726 (105)

# birds (and species) repeat

72 (22)

234 (30)

234 (30)

3582 (65)

# birds (and species) return

13 (10)

99 (23)

105 (25)

559 (34)

# species observed

97

143

145

197

# net hours

464

2758

2782

33247.3

# birds banded / 100 net hours

48.5

28.0

28.9

59.3

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:   Simon Duval, Gay Gruner, Marie-Anne Hudson, Lance Laviolette
Assistants:  Jean Bacon, Christine Barrie, Jean Beaudreault, Sophie Cauchon, David Davey, Samuel Denault, Meghan Laviolette, Benoît Duthu, Nicky Fleming, Gérald Fréchette, Jeff Harrison, Jennifer Gruner, Marie-Melissa Kalamaras, Gillian Kinsman, Meghan Laviolette, Barbara MacDuff, Eve Marshall, Mike Mayerhofer, Betsy McFarlane, Christina Miller, Chris Murphy, André Pelletier, France Salvaille, Carine Touma

The annual MBO Birdathon was held on Saturday, May 23.  Click here for a full report.

Also check out the following reports from other Birdathons done in support of MBO:

Marcel Gahbauer - May 30 around Dättlikon, Switzerland
Red-eyed Wearios - May 14-15 around Point Pelee, Ontario
Falcon-Duck Team - May 29-30 around Prince Edward Point, Ontario

Notes:  Another crazy week with only one left in the season to go!  Migration is still very much underway here at MBO - though we didn't match last week's break-neck pace, the 225 birds banded this week still rank as the second busiest spring week in MBO's 5-year history.  Compared to last year at the same time, we banded 50 more birds and four additional species. In terms of species observed, we’re on par with last week but four species lower than last year. It appears the peak of migration was a little earlier this year compared to 2008.

Six species were added to the list of species observed (chronologically): Northern Shoveler, Swainson’s Thrush (Sunday), Spotted Sandpiper, Alder Flycatcher (Monday), Field Sparrow (Tuesday) and Merlin (Thursday). Four species were banded for the first time this season: Grey-cheeked Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush (Sunday), and Brown Thrasher, and Blackburnian Warbler (Thursday). We’re still surprised at how many new species we’ve added this week despite being so close to the end of the season.  More interesting is the number of repeats (caught within three months) we’ve had this season compared to last season – it appears the birds just can’t get enough of us!

This week’s list of most frequently observed species is remarkably stable in relation to last week, with the same species in similar number from the first to the fourth spots.  Our only two newbies to the list highlight what it’s been like at MBO this week – the week of the “squeeze-toy”. The “usual” suspects were all singing away throughout the week, but they were accompanied by a wave of high pitched steets-steets-steetsing Blackpoll Warblers and a fairly large flock of Cedar Waxwings (more squeeze-toy sounding birds), allowing them both to enter the top ten.

This week’s list of most frequently banded species is again comprised of many warblers – still 7 out of 10!  The top spot again – incredibly – goes to Tennessee Warbler. We’ve never had any kind of spring Tennesse movement like this before - the number banded this week alone (44) is more than double our previous record for a full spring season!  Compared to last year at the same time, we banded almost twice as many Blackpoll and Magnolia Warblers and similar numbers of Yellow-rumped and Wilson’s Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, American Goldfinch and Cedar Waxwing.  In fact, aside from the surging Tennessee Warblers, the only other notable differences this year were the addition of Traill’s Flycatcher in seventh spot, and the disappearance from the list of Red-winged Blackbirds, which were in top spot for week 9 last year.

Before we end this week’s report, we’d like to pass along a neat event that occurred during banding this past week. As Simon tells it, two Pileated Woodpeckers were hanging around B/N (the series of nets near the cabin), going back and forth and weaving around. He was sure he'd get one in the nets if he just waited out of sight. Sure enough, one hit the top of the nets, causing Simon to start running towards them to get it out ASAP. Within those few seconds, a couple of Common Grackles also flew into the net, followed by a chasing Cooper's Hawk, and a crow chasing the hawk! Understandably, Simon was floored! With all these big birds in the nets, there was so much movement that they all escaped, and the only thing Simon could do was write up the incident in our log. Much less satisfying and interesting than banding all four species… But it made for a great story!  Which one would you have tried to nab out of the net first, at the risk of losing the others?  We BICs discussed it and all came up with different answers.

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

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

1.  Tennessee Warbler (44) [1]

1.  Ring-billed Gull (40.9) [1]

2.  Blackpoll Warbler (25) [-]

2.  Red-winged Blackbird (28.3) [2]

3.  American Goldfinch (18) [8]

3.  Cliff Swallow (20.6) [3]

4.  Magnolia Warbler (12) [3]

4.  American Crow (19.0) [4]

5.  Cedar Waxwing (10) [-]

5.  American Goldfinch (12.9) [9]

6.  Wilson's Warbler (9) [7]

6.  Tree Swallow (12.6) [6]

7.  Traill's Flycatcher (8) [-]

7.  Yellow Warbler (11.6) [5]

8.  Northern Waterthrush (7) [7]

8.  Blackpoll Warbler (10.7) [-]

9.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (6) [3]

8.  Cedar Waxwing (10.7) [-]

10.  Common Yellowthroat (4) [6]

10.  Common Grackle (9.3) [8]



Every year at this time the Blackpoll Warblers start to arrive in good numbers, and 2009 is no exception, with them being the second most frequently banded species this week.
(Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)

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