Week 3:  April 11 - 17, 2010

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Mystery bird?  Perhaps, although in this case the undertail alone is diagnostic - see below
for the answer. This week we were still seeing a lot of birds only from awkward angles
like this, but starting next week we will again have a more intimate view of many
birds as we begin our annual spring banding program.
(Photo by Gay Gruner)






2010 TOTAL


# birds (and species) banded



123 (10)

23632 (105)

# birds (and species) repeat



30 (4)

4371 (66)

# birds (and species) return



9 (3)

629 (37)

# species observed





# net hours





# birds banded / 100 net hours





Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants:  Sheldon Andrews, Shawn Craik, Jean Demers, Rejean Duval, Barbara Frei, Marie-Anne Hudson, Malcolm Johnson, Barbara MacDuff, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Greg Rand, Raphaelle Thomas, Rodger Titman, Clémence Soulard.

Notes:  Eight new species were added to the 2010 spring list this week: Ring-necked Duck, Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Raven, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Rusty Blackbird, bringing the season total to 54.  All but the sharpie and raven were new species for 2010, and Ring-necked Duck hasn't been observed at MBO since May 2007. 

Overall, the birds are fairly numerous, although we haven’t yet had an influx of migrants.  Nonetheless, we observed a total of 46 species this week. The songs of Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow and Purple Finch dominated the background chorus.  What we are optimistically calling our pond regulars (Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Wood Duck and Canada Geese) were briefly joined by two Northern Pintails earlier in the week and four Ring-necked Ducks later in the week.

Photo quiz answer:  Northern Flicker - specifically the eastern form known as Yellow-shafted Flicker ... no other North American bird has such a strongly yellow undertail combined with a whitish belly.

This week’s top 10  

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily


1.  Red-winged Blackbird (34) [2]


2.  American Crow (17) [3]


3.  Canada Goose (11) [1]


4.  Song Sparrow (10) [6]


5.  Cedar Waxwing (9) [4]


6.  Wood Duck (8) [8]


7.  Black-capped Chickadee (7) [5]


8.  American Robin (6) [7]


9.  Tree Swallow (5) [-]


10.  American Goldfinch (5) [-]

Our top ten list is certainly consistent: five of our top-ten species (Red-winged Blackbird, American Crow, Canada Goose, Song Sparrow and American Robin) have ranked in the top-ten list of the third week of April each year since 2006!  In fact the only two species that have never ranked in the top ten at this time of year are Tree Swallow and American Goldfinch, with the Tree Swallows probably earlier than normal this year due to the unusually mild temperatures over most of the past month.  Conversely, while Canada Goose migration usually doesn't taper off until early May, it looks like the migrants may have already largely moved through - in past years, the lowest daily average count during week 3 was 66, six times higher than what we recorded this year!

Next week the spring migration monitoring program kicks into high gear, with daily banding (weather permitting) continuing through until June 1.  We expect that the early spring will be noticeable in atypical banding counts for week 4, since some species usually arriving only around this time have already been back in time ... but we will all have to wait to see what the numbers show after the week is done..

A pair of Tree Swallows checking out the 2010 housing options at MBO, with the male perched on top while he waits for the female to assess the interior decor of this box.
(Photo by Greg Rand)

Also potential residents of MBO's nest boxes (albeit the larger variety), this pair of Wood Ducks was spotted on a branch overhanging Stoneycroft Pond.

(Photos by Gay Gruner)



2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.