March 2011

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Common Redpolls like this boldly-coloured male remained the dominant
species at MBO throughout March.
Photo by Simon Duval)

MBO gratefully acknowledges the in-kind support provided for winter 2010-2011 by CCFA (Centre de Conservation de la Faune Ailée) in Montreal, in the form of bird seed to keep the MBO feeders stocked throughout the season.






2011 TOTAL


# birds (and species) banded

67 (8)

449 (19)

71 (8)

31640 (107)

# birds (and species) repeat

8 (1)

76 (8)

8 (1)

5515 (68)

# birds (and species) return

21 (2)

35 (5)

24 (2)

831 (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
  Andrée-Anne Deschamps, Barbara MacDuff, Chris Murphy, Greg Rand

Notes:  As is normal for March, temperatures gradually became milder, but on the whole it was still a rather cold and snowy month, and certainly a sharp contrast to last year's unusually early and sustained mild spring weather.  However, we were able to fit in two banding sessions on milder days, among our eight visits this month, during which we were amply rewarded with a steady flow of redpolls.  Most notably, they included a lone Hoary Redpoll, which became the 107th species banded at MBO.

This month’s top 5   [last month's rank in brackets]

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

1.  Common Redpoll (51) [1]

1.  Common Redpoll (60) [1]

2.  American Tree Sparrow (4) [-]

2.  Canada Goose (18) [-]

3.  Slate-colored Junco (3) [-]

3.  Black-capped Chickadee (12) [4]

4.  Black-capped Chickadee (2) [1]

4.  American Crow (9) [3]

5.  Northern Cardinal (2) [-]

5.  Slate-colored Junco (6) [-]
5.  Red-winged Blackbird (6) [-]

The table above shows how thoroughly Common Redpolls dominated this month's banding efforts.  In fact, the 51 individuals banded approached the cumulative total of 63 over five previous winter seasons.  Remarkably, we continue to catch unbanded Black-capped Chickadees.  A handful of other birds were banded, including our first Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinals, White-throated Sparrow, and Slate-colored Juncos of the year, as well as the aforementioned Hoary Redpoll.  We also recorded our first Slate-colored Junco return of the winter.

The approaching spring season was reflected in the seven species observed for the first time this year:  Canada Goose, Turkey Vulture, Ring-billed Gull, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, and Song Sparrow.  Three of these (the vulture, woodpecker, and grackle) were also new for this winter, bringing our season-total to an above-average 52.  Of the newcomers, two already made it into this month's top five species observed.  However, Common Redpoll remained the most abundant species by a wide margin, with an average of 60 individuals counted on each visit (interestingly the same number as in February, although counts on individual days varied a fair bit). Aside from the redpolls, only chickadees and cardinals were recorded during each visit. 

A second-year Hoary Redpoll - the 107th species banded at McGill Bird Observatory.

(Photo by Simon Duval)

And so another winter has come to an end.  On March 28 we will begin our seventh full season of spring migration monitoring, and we will resume posting weekly updates through the ten-week season.  We look forward to welcoming back many returning volunteers, as well as new additions to the MBO team, and hope to have some exciting results to share as the spring progresses.

The redpolls aren't the only ones that have been enjoying our feeders this month, as shown by this "cheeky" chipmunk.

(Photo by Simon Duval)



2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.