McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

SPRING MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM

Week 1:  March 28 - April 3, 2014

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:


Spring flooding
A view of the south part of MBO reflecting the unusually cold and wet start to spring.
Patches of snow remained even out in the open, and the pools of water in the field
area were higher than ever previously observed.
(Photo by Simon Duval)

 

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THIS WEEK

THIS SPRING

2014 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

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46310 (113)

# birds (and species) repeat

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9134 (70)

# birds (and species) return

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1434 (38)

# species observed

30

30

35

209

# net hours

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79183.3

# birds banded / 100 net hours

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58.5

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Censusers:  Jean Demers, Lisa Keelty, Betsy McFarlane, Clémence Soulard, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman

Notes:  For the first time since 2008, there was no banding at MBO over the last three months of winter, as the weather (and to a large extent the depth of snow) limited access and activities.  Some of the snow has even lingered into the start of the spring season, and not surprisingly, our total of 30 species observed over the course of the first week is the lowest since 2008.  As usual, we will be conducting our one-hour census daily for the first three weeks of spring before launching into full operations with banding on April 18.  The highlight of the week was our continuing Tufted Titmouse, first observed at the feeders on February 1.  Otherwise the species observed this week were the typical residents (such as Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, and American Goldfinch), supplemented by the usual early arrivals (e.g., Mallard, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird), and lingering winter birds (including American Tree Sparrow and Slate-colored Junco). 

This week’s top 10

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

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1.  Canada Goose (22)

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2.  Red-winged Blackbird (14)

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3.  American Crow (8)

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4.  Black-capped Chickadee (8)

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5.  Blue Jay (6)

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6.  European Starling (5)

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7.  Slate-colored Junco (5)

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8.  American Robin (4)

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8.  Cedar Waxwing (4)

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10.  Northern Cardinal (4)

As in six of the previous eight years, Canada Goose was the most abundant species during the first week of spring.  However, the numbers were a fraction of what they usually are – mean daily counts in those six years ranged from 179 to 1099!  Only in 2008, the last year with such a late spring, were Canada Goose numbers lower, with an average of just 3 observed per day.  Similarly, Red-winged Blackbird has been the runner-up in week one for six of the previous years, but the previous counts ranged from 25 to 47 per day, and this year the daily mean was only 14.  American Robin migration also appears to be later this spring, with far fewer observed than most other previous years at this time.  Even the local regulars such as American Crow and Black-capped Chickadee were relatively scarce this week – or at least were quieter than usual for late March / early April, and therefore not as easily detected by our census team.


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