Week 10:  October 3-9, 2007

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We couldn’t believe our eyes when we found two of these special hatch-year birds in our
nets.  A gang of Eastern Bluebirds has been hanging around all week, but we never
expected them to come down to net level, as they've teased us like this every fall so far,
but without ever getting caught. 
(Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)





2007 TOTAL


# birds (and species) banded

486 (36)

2005 (74)

2789 (86)

12107 (103)

# birds (and species) repeat

69 (13)

442 (43)

557 (47)

2106 (59)

# birds (and species) return

1 (1)

43 (12)

128 (24)

328 (29)

# species observed





# net hours





# birds banded / 100 net hours





Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge: Marie-Anne Hudson, Barbara Frei
Assistants: Jean Beaudreault, Sophie Cauchon, Anne Chen, Shawn Craik, Diane Demers, Jean Demers, Diana Dima, Simon Duval, David Fishman, Jeff Harrison, Gay Gruner, Demetrios Kobiliris, Aless Kockel, Helen Leroux, Marie-Pierre Lambert, Alex Liautaud, Barbara MacDuff, Sarah Marteinson, Chris Murphy, Annie-Claude Paradis, André Pelletier, Leigh Piercey-Brunet, Greg Rand, Katleen Robert, Emilie Roy-Dufresne, Christina Saliba, Anna Solecki, Rea Trenchard, Sandra Warren

Notes:   This week has shattered our previous ‘big week’ record for 2007 by about 150 birds, and has even surpassed this week’s total for last year (a first for this season).  Not only were numbers up, but we also managed to band 13 more species than last year at this time, and 10 more species were observed.  As the numbers indicate, we’ve had a pretty big week: our slowest day clocked in at 43 birds banded, and our biggest at 122!  Needless to say we’re very thankful for our great volunteers who were fantastic net assistants, scribes and extractors – you made our jobs that much easier.  Although the unseasonably warm weather for much of this fall has probably accounted for some of the lower numbers we've seen, at this point in the season it may actually explain the higher diversity in that some of the earlier migrants have lingered a bit later than they usually would.

New species observed this week include a special addition to the site list: White-winged Crossbill!  We’ve been hoping for this species to make its way from the Arboretum to our site for 3 years, and it finally did.  Thanks to Jeff for “gettin’ ‘em!”   We're all the more pleasantly surprised as it comes at a time when the White-winged Crossbill populations are peaking in western and eastern Canada, and relatively few appear to be left in Quebec and Ontario.  The other new species for the season is the Fox Sparrow, which was also a newly banded species for this season (right on time), along with the Eastern Bluebird – another first for the site!  Now that we’ve been in operation for a few years, it’s getting more and more difficult to get new species for the banded list, so we’re especially excited for the addition of the bluebird, which brings the count to 103.

As was suggested in last week’s report, Ruby-crowned Kinglets tend to peak around Thanksgiving, and sure enough, this week has been full of kinglets, with an almost 2:1 ratio of them compared to White-throated Sparrows.  They vaulted to the top of the list this week, followed by the ever-increasing American Robin, already tied with the White-throated Sparrow.  Also on the increase was the number of Black-capped Chickadees.  This week has very much confirmed that we’re being invaded by northern chickadees that tend to be larger and stocked with fat reserves.  The number of Yellow-rumped Warblers is up from last week, but still nowhere near last year’s numbers.  Slipping a little from last week in the standings but still holding their own: White-crowned Sparrows, which really love the J-trap even when it’s not set, Song Sparrows, American Goldfinch and Swamp Sparrow round out the top ten.

This week’s top 10  
  [last week’s rank in brackets]

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

1.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (98) [2]

1.  Canada Goose (901) [1]

2.  American Robin (54) [10]

2.  American Robin (116) [6]

3.  White-throated Sparrow (54) [1]

3. American Crow (106) [2]

4.  Black-capped Chickadee (52) [4]

4.   White-throated Sparrow (38) [4]

5.  Yellow-rumped Warbler (46) [8]

5.   Red-winged Blackbird (37) [3]

6.  Slate-colored Junco (44) [10]

6.  European Starling (32) [-]

7.  White-crowned Sparrow (35) [3]

7.   Ruby-crowned Kinglet (30) [9]

8.  Song Sparrow (18) [6]

8.  Slate-colored Junco (29) [-]

9.   American Goldfinch (16) [5]

9.   Black-capped Chickadee (26) [8]

10.   Swamp Sparrow  (10) [7]

10.  White-crowned Sparrow (20) [-]

The top 10 observed list is fairly similar to last week’s, with the Canada Geese filling the sky, and more than twice as numerous as they were at this point last year.  American Robin numbers are steadily increasing, and also slightly ahead of their 2006 numbers.  They’re most vocal first thing in the morning, making the poplars over the B/N nets positively deafening.  The juncos have finally made their appearance on the top 10 list after being on site for a few weeks now.  The major influx came a few days ago, and they’ve been on the increase ever since. 

Owling has been fairly successful thus far, with 5 owls banded over 3 nights total.  We’re hoping for lots more over the next few nights, as steady northeast winds have been forecast.  The biggest news so far is that the owling program also generated a new addition to the all-time checklist this week, in the form of a Barred Owl perched on the reliable old dead tree at the north end of Stoneycroft Pond.  It became species #191 on the list, our eleventh addition this year (the others in chronological order being Ring-necked Duck, Vesper Sparrow, Sandhill Crane, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Towhee, and Greater Scaup in spring, followed by some new sightings this fall - Least Sandpiper, Common Moorhen, Clay-colored Sparrow, and this week's White-winged Crossbill).

A very interesting discussion on Bird Protection Quebec’s SongSparrow e-mail group highlighted the importance of careful and detailed observation when it comes to differentiating between Gray-cheeked and Bicknell’s Thrushes.  Luckily with this one in hand, we were able to take the wing measurements that help differentiate between the two, making this one a bonafide Gray-cheeked.  (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

This young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was quite eager to peck our fingers (and the camera) during this photo session, but thankfully our experience with woodpeckers has taught us how to avoid the worst of it. (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)




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