The 2007 MBO Birdathon Team (Marie-Anne Hudson, Barbara Frei, Rodger Titman, David Bird, Barbara MacDuff, Chris Murphy, André Pelletier, Sophie Cauchon, Jean Demers, Clémence Soulard, Sarah Marteinson, Anthi Mimidakis, Bob Edwards, Penny Letchuk, Dylan Letchuk, Morgan Letchuk, and Oliver Rind) accumulated a list of 117 species on Saturday May 19.  Following a rather foggy start, the weather turned absolutely beautiful, with temperatures ranging from 7 to 21 degrees.  We decided to focus our efforts closer to home this year to reduce the distance driven (and thereby reducing the carbon emissions MBO is responsible for) and to showcase the importance of habitat on the island of Montreal.  Though we fell short of last year’s total (120 species), we feel our “local” 117 species are a testament to Montreal’s wonderful (though dwindling) wildlife habitat, and represent a strong argument to protect and properly manage our green spaces!  Thanks so much to all those involved, donors and birdathoners alike!!

Part of the MBO Birdathon Team posing precariously for an end-of-day photo at the Lachine Rapids.  From left to right: Dave Bird, Rodger Titman, Barbara Macduff, Barbara Frei, Marie-Anne Hudson, Sarah Marteinson, Sophie Cauchon, Andre Pelletier, and Bob Edwards. (Photo by a nice samaritan)

A major highlight for the organizers of this year’s Birdathon is that we got to walk extensively at each site, enabling us to soak up the sun
(that turned some of us a bit pinkish in some cases), and enjoy being outside with friends and birds alike.  Among the most memorable bird sightings of the day:

  • A cacophony of songs greeting us as we started our day at MBO, surrounded by blooming apple, cherry, and hawthorn trees

  • The swirling mass of Cliff, Barn, Tree, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows over a small pond near the Arboretum gate

  • A Chestnut-sided Warbler singing a song completely unlike a normal chestnut, and giving us a run for our money first thing in the morning at MBO

  • Two Black Terns splitting their time perching on the Tree Swallow boxes near the boardwalk at Ile Bizard and floppily flying around screeching at each other

  • A Virginia Rail preening and scooting about in the vegetation about two metres from the boardwalk at Ile Bizard

  • A Semipalmated Sandpiper, a Least Sandpiper, an American Wigeon, and a Black-crowned Night-Heron feeding or loafing near the shore at the Lachine Rapids, completely unfazed by the hundreds of people gawking at them

In some more detail, here is how the day unfolded at each of our four stops:


MBO was the only place we saw/heard grassland specialists (save one very strange Bobolink perched at the top of a large tree at Ile Bizard).  (Photo by André Pelletier)

McGill Bird Observatory (MBO):
As tradition dictates, we started the day at MBO with the daily census. Like last year, recent warbler diversity has been fantastic, with warblers practically dripping from the trees.  We expected lots of warblers, and we weren't disappointed!  MBO contributed the most warblers to our daily total by far, with 13 species jotted down before we left for the Arboretum. Our walk of the census loop produced 39 species, including a new one for the year: Wilson’s Warbler.  We also found the only grassland species of the day there (Eastern Meadowlark, Bobolink, and Savannah Sparrow), indicating the importance of the fields to the east as both stopover sites and potential breeding sites (if properly managed).  Our total as we headed up the hill to the Arboretum was 62 species.


The Morgan Arboretum was a natural extension of our census walk at MBO.  With the fearless leaders always paying attention to their surroundings, we were sure not to get lost and to see lots of species.  From left to right: Marie-Anne Hudson, Barbara Frei, Rodger Titman, Sarah Marteinson, Sophie Cauchon, Barbara Macduff, Bob Edwards, André Pelletier, Jean Demers, Dylan Letchuk, Anthi Mimidakis, and Clémence Soulard.  (Photo by David Bird)


Morgan Arboretum (MA):
From MBO we walked over to our neighbour to the West, the Morgan Arboretum.  We hoped for pine specialists and mature forest birds, and certainly weren’t disappointed!  We added 19 new species to our running list, including a shy Scarlet Tanager that wouldn’t show itself, opting instead to sing from a very leafy treetop; a buzzy Black-throated Blue Warbler; a group of Blackburnian Warblers, and, of course, a singing Pine Warbler.  We left the Arboretum and headed to Ile Bizard, eager to boost our 81 species.


Shielding their eyes from the bright midday sun, part of the Birdathon team scours for marsh birds from the boardwalk at Ile Bizard.  From left to right: Anthi Mimidakis, Rodger Titman, Sarah Marteinson, Jean Demers, Bob Edwards, Penny Letchuk, Morgan Letchuk, Clémence Soulard, and David Bird.  (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

Parc Nature de l'Ile Bizard (PB):
Our third stop added 17 news species, bringing the total to 98.  A brief walk north from the parking lot for a quick lunch stop yielded oodles of warblers.  As we ate our lunch amidst the fighting Yellow Warblers, singing American Redstarts, and foraging Magnolia Warblers, we realized that Ile Bizard is not only fantastic for marsh birds, but great for passerines of all kinds. In fact, most of the new species of passerines (or near passerines) were obtained in the woods just north of the parking lot and the woods bordering the path leading to the first boardwalk.  Black-billed Cuckoo, Brown Thrasher and Blackpoll Warbler were seen in these woods and nowhere else.  The main boardwalk was again disappointing in terms of waterfowl, but it was otherwise rewarding, with nice looks at Black Terns and Virginia Rail, plus Belted Kingfisher, Green Heron, Common Moorhen and Pied-billed Grebe.  Also heard from nearby but not seen were Least Bittern and Sora. The woods beyond proved again to be a bit of a time sink, but did give us some much appreciated shade from the midday sun as well as an additional species (Brown Creeper).  We also got to enjoy the sounds of David Bird as he tried to lure the resident Barred Owl in (and failed – though not for lack of trying! It was 1pm in the afternoon at this point).  Thanks for trying Dave!  We also owe a big thank you to Chris Murphy and Barbara Macduff since they hung back on the boardwalk as we bravely (or stupidly?) tackled the mosquito-y woods, and wow did that pay off!  They added four new species from one spot on the boardwalk alone, which speaks volumes for the “stand and wait” approach.


The delightfully unflappable Black-crowned Night-Heron pausing for a yawn at the Lachine Rapids. By that point we were getting pretty sleepy too!  (Photo by André Pelletier)

Lachine Rapids (LR):
A last-minute decision at the end of the walk at IB led us to the Lachine Rapids for some wind and fast-moving water.  Momentarily forgetting that it was a Saturday on a holiday weekend and that it was a beautiful day following a string of rather cold, soggy days, we were greeted with hoards of sun-worshippers basking, ambling, sitting, and lying absolutely everywhere.  Despite the throngs, we were able to add what we thought were our final 11 species to our list, bringing our total to 109.  However, on the drive home, our raptor total was thankfully enhanced by an American Kestrel and a Peregrine Falcon, bringing the total to 111, and five drive-by birds by the two Barbaras brought our total to 116.


Concentrating on finding the 109th species at the Lachine Rapids. From left to right: Sophie Cauchon, Bob Edwards, Dave Bird, Barbara Macduff, Rodger Titman, and Sarah Marteinson.
(Photo by André Pelletier)

McGill Bird Observatory (MBO):
Since we only started the Birdathon at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, we technically had until 6:30 a.m. on Sunday to find species, so the first hour of Sunday's banding session was fair game.  At 5:45 a.m. the familiar sound of a squeeze toy hit our ears, and our final species of the 2007 Birdathon (number 117) was added to the list: Cedar Waxwing.  The only regret we have is that the Northern Waterthrush, conspicuously absent from our rather extensive warbler list, that crossed our paths at 7:30 a.m. didn’t decide to amble along B earlier in the morning!  Still, MBO produced an impressive number of species (22) that we didn't find anywhere else during our Birdathon.


Our very last species for this year’s Birdathon: Cedar Waxwing.  (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

The list below includes all of the species seen and/or heard during our Birdathon.  We did better this year with waterfowl (8 species) and raptors (5 species), but our list of shorebirds (4 species) was shorter than last year’s.  However, we did well with warblers (18 species) and passerines on the whole (69 species), and had good luck with some birds often difficult to find on Birdathons, such as the woodpeckers.  We are already looking forward to more participants and even greater results in 2008!

Complete list of species observed:  (in groups of ten)
(Locations:  MBO - McGill Bird Observatory; MA – Morgan Arboretum; IB - Parc Nature de l'Ile Bizard; LR – Lachine Rapids; T – Trip (en route from place to place))

Pied-billed Grebe / Grèbe à bec bigarré (IB)
Double-crested Cormorant / Cormoran à aigrettes (MBO, LR)
Least Bittern / Petit blongios (IB)
Great Blue Heron / Grand héron (MBO, MA, IB, LR)
Great Egret / Grande aigrette (LR)
Green Heron / Héron vert (MBO, IB)
Black-crowned Night-heron / Bihoreau gris (LR)
Turkey Vulture / Urubu à tête rouge (MA, IB)
Canada Goose / Bernache du Canada (MBO)
Wood Duck / Canard branchu (MBO)

Gadwall / Canard chipeau (LR)
American Wigeon / Canard d’Amérique (LR)
American Black Duck / Canard Noir (MBO, LR)
Mallard / Canard colvert (MBO, IB, LR)
Hooded Merganser / Harle couronné (IB)
Red-breasted Merganser / Harle huppé (LR)
Wild Turkey / Dindon sauvage (T)
Northern Harrier / Busard Saint-Martin (IB)
Sharp-shinned Hawk / Epervier brun (T)
Northern Goshawk / Autour des palombres (MA)

Red-shouldered Hawk / Buse à épaulettes (MBO)
Red-tailed Hawk / Buse à queue rousse (MA)
American Kestrel / Crécerelle d’Amérique (T)
Peregrine Falcon / Faucon pèlerin (T)
Virginia Rail / Râle de Virginie (IB)
Sora / Marouette de Caroline (IB)
Common Moorhen / Gallinule poule d'eau (IB)
Killdeer / Pluvier kildir (MBO)
Solitary Sandpiper / Chevalier solitaire (MBO)
Spotted Sandpiper / Chevalier grivelé (LR)

Semipalmated Sandpiper / Bécasseau semipalmé (LR)
Least Sandpiper / Bécasseau minuscule (LR)
Ring-billed Gull / Goéland à bec cerclé (MBO, LR)
Herring Gull / Goéland Argenté (MBO)
Great Black-backed Gull / Goéland marin (LR)
Common Tern / Sterne pierregarin (IB, LR)
Black Tern / Guifette noire (IB)
Rock Pigeon / Pigeon biset (MA, T)
Mourning Dove / Tourterelle triste (MBO)
Black-billed Cuckoo / Coulicou à bec noir (IB)

Chimney Swift / Martinet ramoneur (MA)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird / Colibri à gorge rubis (MA)
Belted Kingfisher / Martin-pêcheur d'Amérique (LR)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker / Pic maculé (MBO, IB, MA)
Downy Woodpecker / Pic mineur (MBO, MA)
Hairy Woodpecker / Pic chevelu (MBO, MA, IB)
Northern Flicker / Pic flamboyant (MBO, MA, IB)
Pileated Woodpecker / Grand Pic (MA)
Eastern Wood Pewee / Piou de l’Est (MBO)
Least Flycatcher / Moucherolle tchébec (MBO, IB)

Eastern Phoebe / Moucherolle phébi (MBO)
Great Crested Flycatcher / Tyran huppé (MA, IB)
Eastern Kingbird / Tyran tritri (MBO, MA, IB)
Blue-headed Vireo / Viréo à tête bleue (MA)
Warbling Vireo / Viréo mélodieux (MBO, IB)
Red-eyed Vireo / Viréo aux yeux rouges (MA, IB)
Blue Jay / Geai bleu (MA, IB)
American Crow / Corneille d'Amérique (MBO, MA)
Common Raven / Grand Corbeau (MBO)
Purple Martin / Hirondelle noire (MBO, IB, LR)

Tree Swallow / Hirondelle bicolore (MBO, IB, LR)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow / Hirondelle à ailes hérissées (MA)
Cliff Swallow / Hirondelle à front blanc (MA)
Barn Swallow / Hirondelle rustique (MBO, IB, LR)
Black-capped Chickadee / Mésange à tête noire (MBO, MA, IB)
Red-breasted Nuthatch / Sittelle à poitrine rousse (MA)
White-breasted Nuthatch / Sittelle à poitrine blanche (MBO, MA)
Brown Creeper / Grimpereau brun (IB)
Carolina Wren / Trogolodyte de Caroline (T)
House Wren / Trogolodyte familier (MBO, IB)

Marsh Wren / Troglodyte des marais (IB)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet / Roitelet à couronne rubis (MA, IB)
Eastern Bluebird / Merlebleu de l’Est (T)
Hermit Thrush / Grive solitaire (MBO)
Wood Thrush / Grive des bois (T) 
American Robin / Merle d'Amérique (MBO, MA, IB, LR)
Gray Catbird / Moqueur chat (MBO, IB)
Brown Thrasher / Moqueur roux (IB)
European Starling / Étourneau sansonnet (MBO, T)
Cedar Waxwing / Jaseur d’Amérique (MBO)

Tennessee Warbler / Paruline obscure (MBO)
Nashville Warbler / Paruline à joues grises (MBO, MA)
Northern Parula / Paruline à collier (MBO, IB)
Yellow Warbler / Paruline jaune (MBO, IB, LR)
Chestnut-sided Warbler / Paruline à flancs marron (MBO)
Magnolia Warbler / Paruline à tête cendrée (MBO, MA, IB)
Cape May Warbler / Paruline tigrée (MBO)
Black-throated Blue Warbler / Paruline bleue (MA, IB)
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler / Paruline à croupion jaune (MBO, IB)
Black-throated Green Warbler / Paruline à gorge noire (MBO, MA)

Blackburnian Warbler / Paruline à gorge orangée (MA)
Pine Warbler / Paruline des pins (MA)
Blackpoll Warbler / Paruline rayée (IB)
Black-and-white Warbler / Paruline noir et blanc (MBO, IB)
American Redstart / Paruline flamboyante (IB)
Ovenbird / Paruline couronnée (MBO, MA)
Common Yellowthroat / Paruline masquée (MBO)
Wilson's Warbler / Paruline à calotte noire (MBO)
Scarlet Tanager / Tangara écarlate (MA, LR)
Chipping Sparrow / Bruant familier (MBO, MA, IB)

Savannah Sparrow / Bruant des prés (MBO)
Song Sparrow / Bruant chanteur (MBO, MA, IB)
Lincoln’s Sparrow / Bruant de Lincoln (MBO)
Swamp Sparrow / Bruant des marais (MBO, IB)
White-throated Sparrow / Bruant à gorge blanche (IB)
White-crowned Sparrow / Bruant à couronne blanche (LR)
Northern Cardinal / Cardinal rouge (MBO, IB)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak / Cardinal à poitrine rose (MBO, MA)
Bobolink / Goglu des prés (MBO, IB)
Red-winged Blackbird / Carouge à épaulettes (MBO, MA, IB, LR)

Eastern Meadowlark / Sturnelle des prés (MBO)
Common Grackle / Quiscale bronzé (MBO, MA, IB)
Brown-headed Cowbird / Vacher à tête brune (MBO, MA, IB, LR)
Baltimore Oriole / Oriole de Baltimore (MBO, IB)
House Finch / Roselin familier (IB)
American Goldfinch / Chardonerret jaune (MBO, MA, IB)
House Sparrow / Moineau domestique (MBO, MA, IB, LR)




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