McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

SPRING MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM

Week 5:  April 25 - May 1, 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:



To our surprise, this Northern Waterthrush was the first warbler banded at MBO in 2010;
more commonly Yellow-rumped is the earliest of the warblers to reach our nets.
(Photo by Barbara Frei)

 

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THIS WEEK

THIS SPRING

2010 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

45 (14)

153 (18)

276 (20)

23785 (105)

# birds (and species) repeat

17 (5)

35 (10)

65 (10)

4406 (66)

# birds (and species) return

8 (6)

25 (10)

34 (8)

654 (37)

# species observed

55

77

80

200

# net hours

400.0

954.4

1020.4

40927.6

# birds banded / 100 net hours

11.3

16.0

27.0

58.1

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants:  David Anderson, Christine Barrie, Mike Beaupré, Christine Burt, Adriana Celada, Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Rejean Duval, Jeff Harrison, Marie-France Julien, Malcolm Johnson, Céline Lecomte, Francine Marcoux, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Benoit Piquette, Francine Piquette, Bronwyn Rayfield, Bonnie Soutar, Rodger Titman, Clémence Soulard, Vince Spinelli

Notes:  Weather was the controlling factor at MBO this week and it was a cruel master.  We were unable to open the nets for two days due to snow and cold temperatures. The conditions were likely responsible for inhibiting the arrival of many new migrants, with the 55 species observed this week a record low for this period.  Despite this retro-winter blast, we were able to add seven new species to the spring list: Red-tailed Hawk, American Black Duck, Herring Gull, Hooded Merganser, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Waterthrush, and Savannah Sparrow. The waterthrush was also one of three new species banded this week, in addition to Brown Thrasher and Brown-headed Cowbird.


This was how our "spring" migration monitoring program looked one morning this week.
(Photo by Simon Duval)

Our top-ten remained much the same, with the ranks of the species shuffling slightly and only American Goldfinch being new to the list. Our top-ten species banded list also remained much the same; only American Robin, White-throated Sparrow and Common Grackle (the latter much to the detriment of our fingers) were new to the list. MBO weeks run Sunday to Saturday this year, and the final round on Saturday seemed to signal a welcome change in activity - a Northern Waterthrush in the net and a small group of Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting among the trees.

Our breeding birds are still dominating our observations. Virginia Rail, a species that we hope to confirm as a breeder, was heard every day this week (one lucky person actually saw one!). We have been hearing two rails, which has led to optimistic speculation about breeding. Interestingly, each rail has its own call variation; one calls wep wepwepwep from the north ponds, while the other calls kidik, kidik, kidik from Stoneycroft Pond.

This week’s top 10 (last week's top 10 in brackets)  

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

1.  Red-winged Blackbird (15) [4]

1.  Canada Goose (79) [1]

2.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (8) [5]

2.  Red-winged Blackbird (38) [2]

3.  Cedar Waxwing (6) [1]

3.  American Crow (24) [4]

4.  American Goldfinch (5) [8]

4.  Cedar Waxwing (24) [3]

4.  Swamp Sparrow (5) [7]

5.  Tree Swallow (12) [6]

6.  Tree Swallow (3) [9]

6.  Black-capped Chickadee (10) [5]

6.  White-throated Sparrow (3) [-]

7.  Song Sparrow (10) [9]

8.  American Robin (2) [-]

8.  American Goldfinch (9) [-]

8.  Slate-colored Junco (2) [6]

9.  Wood Duck (9) [7]

10.  Common Grackle (2) [-]

10.  American Robin (8) [8]

A couple more of this week's bird highlights:


MBO's first Brown Thrasher of 2010 (Photo by Gay Gruner)


A Blue Jay, always a welcome visitor to the banding station (Photo by Simon Duval)

Finally this week, we have news to share about two more birds banded at MBO that have been reported from elsewhere. A female Red-winged Blackbird banded during MBO's first full spring season in 2005 was reported this week by our neighbour, the Ecomuseum, almost exactly five years after we banded it.  Meanwhile, an American Tree Sparrow that we banded in the last week of the 2009 fall season was found this week quite a bit to the northeast, at Lac Megantic, Quebec.


The windmill may have fallen, but it remains an interesting feature at MBO.
(Photo by Gay Gruner)

 

2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.