McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

WINTER POPULATION MONITORING

Week 2:  November 7-13, 2005

Welcome to the McGill Bird Observatory weekly report.  Click here for a complete listing of our archives.  Comments or questions are welcome at mbo@migrationresearch.org

PICTURE OF THE WEEK:


In our experience at MBO, American Goldfinches tend to be remarkably consistent in
weight - often 13 grams, and almost always within the range of 12-14 grams.  However,
this after-hatch-year male weighed in at a whopping 16 grams, despite carrying little
visible fat.  Many species show variation in size across their range, and the American
Goldfinch is no exception.  The pallida subspecies, which breeds from northwestern
Ontario to interior British Columbia, tends to be larger than the tristis subspecies
native to the northeast.  A northwest to southeast migration is common in a variety
of passerines, and so it is quite possible that this was a western goldfinch moving
through our area.  (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)
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Special thanks to Wildlifers in Baie D'Urfe for donating the seed to stock the feeders for MBO's Winter Monitoring Program - click here for information about the store.

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  THIS WEEK THIS WINTER 2005 TOTAL SITE TOTAL
# birds (and species) banded 23 (3) 79 (10) 4038 (84) 4959 (92)
# birds (and species) repeat 11 (2) 37 (5) 778 (36) 856 (41)
# birds (and species) return 1 (1) 1 (2) 74 (14) 74 (14)
# species observed 26 32 163 169
# net hours 12.0 38.0 5419.1 6393.6
# birds banded / 100 net hours 191.7 207.9 74.5 77.5

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Bander-in-charge:  Marcel Gahbauer
Assistants:  Barbara Frei, Robert Oligny

Notes:  As we approach mid-November, the bird community is taking on an increasingly typical winter feel.  On each of three outings this week we failed to crack the 20-species barrier, a mark which we wouldn't have even given a second thought just a couple of weeks ago.  Fox Sparrows and Golden-crowned Kinglets are among the few remaining late fall migrants in the area. 

Four new species for the season were recorded this week.  Hairy Woodpecker and White-breasted Nuthatch were fully expected, but a female Mallard in the back pond and a Brown-headed Cowbird near Stoneycroft Pond were somewhat surprising.

For the most part it was an alternatingly windy and wet week, and we only were able to get in one banding session, on Friday morning.  Even then it was windier than we would have liked, but we nonetheless caught a good number of American Goldfinches, Slate-coloured Juncos, and Black-capped Chickadees.  The latter appear to still be migrating, as many of them were unbanded, though hanging out with some of the older individuals we banded here last winter.

Though we didn't realize it at the time, the last American Goldfinch banded on Friday (photo above) was the 5000th bird we have banded at MBO (including the 4965 birds from regular banding summarized in the table above, plus the 35 owls we have banded at night). Correction: upon checking our 2005 numbers, we were actually a few short of 5000 this week after all!

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