Week 12:  October 17-23, 2007

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What might be the final new species banded for the 2007 fall season, we were lucky
enough to get two Northern Shrikes this past week: a second-year bird (based on some
retained juvenile feathers in the wing) and a hatch year bird.  Note the differences in the
darkness of the facial mask, as well as the differences in the colour of the face (grey vs brown).
(Photos by Marie-Anne Hudson and Greg Rand)





2007 TOTAL


# birds (and species) banded

289 (19)

2724 (77)

3508 (87)

12826 (103)

# birds (and species) repeat

43 (11)

540 (45)

655 (49)

2204 (59)

# birds (and species) return

1 (1)

45 (12)

130 (24)

330 (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, Kristen Brochu, Shawn Craik, Emilie Dion, Melanie Drouin, Dominique Fautaux, Isaac Hebert, Tiffany Gamelin, Gay Gruner, Marie-Melissa Kalamaras, Gillian Kinsman, Joelle Lapalme, Alex Liautaud, Barbara MacDuff, Jennifer MacWilliam, Francine Marcoux, Sarah Marteinson, Chris Murphy, Annie-Claude Paradis, André Pelletier, Greg Rand, Katleen Robert, Krystal Swift, Anna Solecki, Stephanie Steeves, Rachel Theoret-Gosselin, Rae Trenchard, Sandra Warren

Notes:   Weather-wise this week contained a few days that could have been slotted into July and no one would have been the wiser.  However, above-seasonal temperatures certainly didn’t deter our autumn migrants!  The proof is in the number of American Robins bobbing about the site.  Our highest daily total was 1150, making for some very noisy skies.  Their orangey-red breasts are the perfect colour for the season, matching our fiery-leafed maples.  The maples seem to be hanging on to their leaves a little longer than the Eastern Cottonwoods on site, which have lost the majority of their leaves over the past two days.  No worries, there are still have a few days to check out the fall colours before the wind knocks them all down! 

With one week left in the fall season, we still managed to get some new species.  New species banded include two Northern Shrikes (the first time we've banded more than one in a season, let alone a single week!) and a Common Grackle (remarkable considering that last fall we banded 35 of them).  New species observed include Pine Siskin and the aforementioned Northern Shrike.  Though we’re still over 400 birds short of last year’s banding total at this time, we’re three species ahead in terms of species observed, and have also banded one more species.  Just goes to show how variable seasons can be, and how much we’re at the mercy of the weather!  Another reminder of how important it is to focus on long-term monitoring in order to separate year-to-year fluctuations influenced by local weather patterns from actual population trends that can be used to guide conservation strategies.

This week’s top ten banded list reflects the week’s slowed pace relative to last week.  Ruby-crowned Kinglets still dominate despite being halved from last week.  Other than the disappearance of the Hermit Thrush and White-crowned Sparrow from the list, enabling our little goldfinches and Golden-crowned Kinglets to pop on, the list remains quite similar to last week’s. 

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

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

1.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (73) [1]

1.  Canada Goose (946) [1]

2.  American Robin (68) [2]

2.  American Robin (333) [2]

3.  Slate-colored Junco (38) [4]

3. Red-winged Blackbird (220) [3]

4.  Black-capped Chickadee (21) [3]

4.   American Crow (179) [4]

4.  White-throated Sparrow (21) [5]

5.  Common Grackle (108) [9]

6.  Song Sparrow (16) [8]

6.  European Starling (38) [5]

6.  American Tree Sparrow (16) [8]

7.  Slate-colored Junco (37) [8]

8.   Fox Sparrow  (9) [10]

8.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (20) [6]

9.  American Goldfinch (5) [-]

9.  White-throated Sparrow (17) [7]

9.  Golden-crowned Kinglet (5) [-]

10.  Black-capped Chickadee (15) [10]

The top 10 observed list for this week has simply been picked up and shaken, causing the top and bottom to stay the same and the middle to shift around a bit.  This line-up is similar to last year’s top 10 as well, though it lacks Cedar Waxwing (nomads that they are), Blue Jay, and Mallard.  Who knows, with the way the Mallards are beginning to appear (54 today), they may yet end up on our top 10!

We were stoked to find this fine fellow in our nets this week, since we’ve only ever gotten one per fall season before!  Granted we get our fill in spring, but in fall they tend to stay in the tree tops far above our nets. 
Interestingly, the only Red-winged Blackbird we banded in the fall of 2006 also came in week 12!  (Photo by Barbara Frei) 

No, we didn’t band this Red-tailed Hawk, but we were quite impressed at its ability to dodge our curious American Crows! (Photo by Barbara Frei)

We were astounded to find this hatch-year Black-capped Chickadee in our nets (twice) this week - that in itself is of course quite common with chickadees, but this one had a massive growth on its neck!  It must be a fast-growing tumour or abscess since it was initially banded just a week or two ago, with no signs of any growth. It was in fine form so we released it, wished it well, and hope to recap it again soon (minus the growth). There is growing evidence that Black-capped Chickadees may be vulnerable to environmental contaminants, as discussed in a recent article in the American Birding Association's magazine Birding that highlights some remarkable beak deformities in Alaska.  (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)



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