McGILL BIRD OBSERVATORY

SPRING MIGRATION MONITORING PROGRAM

Week 4:  April 18 - 24, 2013

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

PICTURE OF THE WEEK:


Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrows dominated in the first week of this year's banding program.
(Photo by Gay Gruner)

 

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THIS WEEK

THIS SPRING

2013 TOTAL

SITE TOTAL

# birds (and species) banded

113 (15)

113 (15)

481 (22)

41993 (111)

# birds (and species) repeat

36 (11)

36 (11)

107 (13)

8088 (70)

# birds (and species) return

24 (9)

24 (9)

56 (14)

1265 (38)

# species observed

67

73

66

207

# net hours

511.0

511.0

566.0

69855.7

# birds banded / 100 net hours

22.1

22.1

85.0

60.1

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls)

Banders-in-charge:  Simon Duval, Gay Gruner
Assistants: 
Christine Barrie, Richard Beauchamp, Nicolas Bernier, Sue Bishop, Cindy Bouchard, Marie-France Boudreault, Yolande Cossette, Serge Côté, David Davey, Rui de Jesus, Jean Demers, Liette Fortier, Barbara Frei, Monique Groulx, Alison Hackney, Lisa Keelty, Barbara MacDuff, Don MacDuff, Christine Marcoux, Ana Morales, Benoit Piquette, Lisa Rosenberger, Catherine Russell, Ahmad Shah, Marilou Skelling, Clémence Soulard, Elise Titman, Rodger Titman

Notes:  The spring banding season got off to a great start, with 113 birds banded this week - the second highest total ever for this period, behind only the count of 141 in 2008.  It was also a good week for raptor observations, with six new species for the year - Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, American Kestrel, and Peregrine Falcon.  A Field Sparrow on the second day of the week was another highlight, as the species is not observed annually.  The other new arrivals this week were Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Wilson`s Snipe, House Wren, Brown Thrasher, Rusty Blackbird, and Purple Finch.

Brown Creeper
Brown Creepers are always a rare treat in spring - in 8 previous years, only 8 have been banded.
(Photo by Gay Gruner)


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

# individuals banded

mean # individuals observed daily

1.  Fox Sparrow (32)

1.  Canada Goose (110)  [1]

2.  Black-capped Chickadee (14)

2.  Red-winged Blackbird (57)  [2]

3.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (13)

3.  Song Sparrow (26)  [3]

4.  Song Sparrow (9)

4.  Fox Sparrow (20)  [-]

4.  Slate-colored Junco (9)

5.  Black-capped Chickadee (17)  [4]

6.  Red-winged Blackbird (8)

6.  Ring-billed Gull (16)  [5]

7.  Eastern Phoebe (5)

7.  American Crow (13)  [7]

7.  American Tree Sparrow (5)

8.  American Robin (12)  [6]

7.  Swamp Sparrow (5)

9.  Wood Duck (12)  [8]

7.  White-throated Sparrow (5)

10.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet (11)  [-]

The spring banding season kicked off this week, and as usual for this time of year, sparrows dominated - although even more than usual actually.  For just the second time, six sparrow species cracked the top ten of species banded - the previous occasion was 2008, when Fox Spaarrow was also more than twice as numerous as any other sparrow, and followed by Slate-colored Junco and Song Sparrow.  The 32 Fox Sparrows banded this week was a single-week record at MBO.  Equally interesting were the 14 Black-capped Chickadees banded this week, given that the previous highest count for week 4 is just 4 individuals, and the species has only appeared in the top ten for this week twice in the previous 8 years. It isn't the chickadees are uncommon at this time of year, just that through the winter monitoring program it's very likely that any residents have been banded by the time spring arrives - therefore it's likely most of those banded this week are migrants headed farther north.  Ruby-crowned Kinglets were the runner-up for week 4 in half of the previous years, so it was no surprise to see them round out this year's top three.  The other notable result this week was the high count of Eastern Phoebes - matching our season total for our best ever spring for the species (2006)!

Among the birds observed, the top three remained unchanged from last week, with Canada Goose continuing to dominate (as usual), followed by Red-winged Blackbird and the sustained surge of unusually abundant Song Sparrows. Reflecting the banding results, Fox Sparrow made a strong showing in this list as well, only the third time in our 9-year history that it has been abundant enough in week 4 to appear in the top ten, and with much greater numbers than either previous occurrence (14 in 2008 and 8 in 2010).  The species ranked from 5 to 9 this week (Black-capped Chickadee, Ring-billed Gull, American Crow, American Robin, and Wood Duck) were in the same sequence last week except for the crow and robin swapping places, and the whole group being bumped down one spot by the Fox Sparrow. The only other new addition this week was Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a bit more abundant than usual this early in spring.

Brown-headed Cowbird
With breeding birds beginning to settle in at MBO, Brown-headed Cowbirds have also arrived and are beginning to scout out ptoential hosts for their eggs
(Photo by Gay Gruner)

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2002- The Migration Research Foundation Inc.