McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

SPRING MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM

Week 1:  March 28 - April 3, 2010

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:



Song Sparrows are one of the first songbirds to return to MBO each spring.
(Photo by Greg Rand)

 

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THIS WEEK

THIS SPRING

2010 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

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123 (10)

23632 (105)

# birds (and species) repeat

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30 (4)

4371 (66)

# birds (and species) return

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9 (3)

629 (37)

# species observed

37

37

47

199

# net hours

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66

39973.2

# birds banded / 100 net hours

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186.4

59.1

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Censusers:  Sheldon Andrews, Amélie Constantineau, Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Rejean Duval, Barbara Frei, Jeff Harrison, Marie-Anne Hudson, Barbara MacDuff, Don MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Clémence Soulard.

Notes:  With the end of the winter season, comes the beginning of the Spring Migration Monitoring Program (SMMP) at MBO!  Our spring season is defined as the 10-week span from March 28 through June 5, with banding occurring daily from April 18 to June 1.  During the days prior to April 18 our observation periods are limited to the census, which takes place one hour after sunrise every day of the week.   This allows us to collect standardized daily estimated totals (DET) and compare results from year to year. 

A total of 37 species were observed in this first week of spring, a number consistent with what we've recorded in the same period in 2006 (37), 2007 (36), and 2009 (38), with only 2008 being an exception with 24 species, likely due to a much colder than usual first week of spring.  Among this week's birds were six new species for 2010 (Greater Snow Goose, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Tree Swallow, and Cedar Waxwing). With the exception of Greater Snow Goose (observed one day only) and Ring-billed Gull (observed 6 out of 7 days), all our top ten species were observed each day. The numbers of incoming species such as Song Sparrow increased throughout the week while northbound species such as American Tree Sparrow decreased throughout the week, with Saturday being the last day they were observed on site for spring (at least so far - late stragglers are always a possibility)

The action has moved from the winter feeder area to the ponds. A pair each of Mallard and Canada Goose and several pairs of Wood Duck have been observed regularly; we are hopeful that they will breed here.  Three species of frog have started to sing: Wood Frog, Spring Peeper and Bullfrog, making it difficult to hear the birds. If you would like to learn more about frogs, visit http://www.naturewatch.ca/english/frogwatch/learn_frogs.asp?Province=pq

This week’s top 10  

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

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1.  Canada Goose (179)

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2.  Red-winged Blackbird (44)

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3.  Greater Snow Goose (31)

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4.  American Crow (25)

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5.  American Robin (12)

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6.  Black-capped Chickadee (11)

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7.  Wood Duck (7)

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8.  Song Sparrow (7)

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9.  American Tree Sparrow (6)

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10.  Ring-billed Gull (4)

As has been the case in three of the past four years, Canada Goose was the most dominant species in the first week of spring, by a large margin.  Most of the other species in this year's list have also been in the Week 1 top 10 in years past, though American Tree Sparrow hasn't made an appearance there since 2006, and the only other time Wood Duck was on the list was in 2009. On the other hand, Blue Jay, Bohemian Waxwing, and Slate-coloured Junco were less common this week than they usually are at this time of year.

New species are arriving almost daily; there is a great sense of anticipation at the start of each census.  Why not come out and see for yourself?  Join us on Saturday April 10 for our Maintenance Day.


The local flock of Wood Ducks circling over Stoneycroft Pond one morning this week.
(Photo by Greg Rand)

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2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.