Week 8:  September 19-25, 2005

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On September 24, 1905, James Henry Fleming banded an American Robin in his Toronto
backyard, marking the start of banding in Canada.  Exactly one century later, we banded
this American Robin at MBO.  Over the past 100 years, the North American banding
program has greatly advanced our understanding of migration, dispersal, longevity,
habitat selection, social structure, and various aspects of ecology through the banding
of over 66 million birds.  Yet the American Robin is an appropriate bird with which to
celebrate this anniversary, as there are still many questions to be answered about even
a common bird such as this.  We hope that McGill Bird Observatory will continue to
contribute to this ever-growing body of knowledge for many years to come.
(Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)


# birds (and species) banded 480 (48) 1934 (68) 2667 (83) 3588 (90)
# birds (and species) repeat 86 (18) 302 (26) 547 (32) 725 (39)
# birds (and species) return 6 (3) 28 (7) 59 (12) 59 (12)
# species observed 88 127 149 163
# net hours 430.5 2328.7 3983.5 4958.0
# birds banded / 100 net hours 111.5 83.1 67.0 72.3

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:  Marcel Gahbauer, Barbara Frei, Marie-Anne Hudson
Assistants:  Pierre Bannon, Lina Bardo, David Bird, Martin Bowman, Veronik Campbell, Alejandro del Pera, Jean Demers, Lena Douris, Gay Gruner, Juliane Hudson, Barbara MacDuff, Don MacDuff, Francine Marcoux, Rudi Markgraf, Mike Mayer, Betsy McFarlane, Anthi Mimidakis, Chris Murphy, Julie Pépin, Majorie Poirier, Limoilou-Amélie Renaud, Clémence Soulard, Michelle Saint-Martin, Stephanie Surveyer, Kim Tendland-Frenette, Gijs van Tol, Audrey Wachter

Notes:  Another remarkable week!  While we are always open to being proven wrong, this week's new record of 480 birds banded will likely stand for a while.  Contributing to this total was another new daily record of 118 on Wednesday, followed up by 101 more on Thursday.  Arguably the most hectic day though was Tuesday, when we banded 66 birds in half a morning, due to the arrival of high winds and rain around 9:30.  Overall, both the number of species banded and observed were only marginally lower than last week.  However, the cold front which came through on Friday produced a distinct change in the bird community, shifting the focus from warblers to sparrows, and it is likely we have seen the last of many of the less cold-hardy species until next spring.

Topping the list of species banded for a second consecutive week was White-throated Sparrow with 86, for an impressive two-week total of 130.  Close behind this week was Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler with 76.  Rounding out this week's top five were Ruby-crowned Kinglet (46), Red-eyed Vireo (33), and Song Sparrow (27).

As usual, we also banded several less common species.  New for the season this week were Purple Finch, White-crowned Sparrow, and Yellow-shafted Flicker - the last bird of the week, and only our second ever banded at MBO even though they are seen in the area regularly.  Others of particular interest included 2 Winter Wrens, 1 Warbling Vireo, a late Yellow Warbler, and relatively good numbers of Grey-cheeked Thrush (6) and Lincoln's Sparrow (7).  Also of note, we banded a single Blue Jay every day this week.

In addition to the aforementioned White-crowned Sparrow, species seen for the first time this fall were Eastern Bluebird, Hermit Thrush.  We still had 19 warbler species, though since Friday we have had only 7.  Rusty Blackbirds, Canada Geese, and both species of kinglet have become much more plentiful this week. 

As we move into late September, sparrows are taking over from warblers as the dominant
birds in the nets, as well as in terms of overall numbers on the site.  White-throated and
Song Sparrows are by far the most abundant, but this week we also banded five other
species, including this Lincoln's Sparrow.  (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)




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