End of season

Fittingly, on this last day of the spring migration monitoring, June 10th, it is pouring rain! It has been a wet spring for sure: there were 16 days (including today) with precipitation in the 57 days of monitoring, or 28% of the period!

Despite, or maybe because of, the bad weather, it has been a very good spring, with a few very busy days and many good ones. Despite some days with no banding, the banding total of 2044 birds of 65 species is the third highest of the 18 Spring seasons.

June 6thwas another historic day for Cabot Head, maybe not as worthy of celebrations that a long-ago June 6th(of 75 years ago precisely). Nonetheless, it was on that day that we passed the 2,000 banded birds mark, which has happened only in two previous Springs, in 2002 and 2016. We also banded a new species for Cabot Head, never before banded, although (rarely) seen previously: a Second-Year female Prairie Warbler! Exciting!

It is now time to sit down and sift through all the data to produce the Spring seasonal report (which would be put on BPBO website in due time). A quick glance at the banding totals reveals a few highlights. This Spring, ten species broke the highest banding total, including a swath of normally rare warblers. Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, and Cape May Warblers, as well as Northern Parulas, all were banded in record numbers. As discussed in previous posts, the two days of fall-outs brought many of these wood jewels in our nets, sometimes in numbers not seen in a whole season. An amazing total of 218 Palm Warblers were also banded, “shattering” (by two birds) the long-held record of Spring 2002. Other notable banding totals are Hermit Thrush, with 32 birds (just 3 more than the previous record of 2016) and Red-breasted Nuthatch, with 57 birds (more than double the previous record of 27 in 2013). Last Fall, there was a massive movement of nuthatches, at Cabot Head as well as further South. At the station, most of the birds we banded last Fall were adults, whereas usually young birds dominate. It is likely that this Spring, these adults were returning to their breeding grounds, hoping for a better crop of cones!

All in all, it was a wonderful season, despite the cold and the rain (and the lack of Golden Eagles). I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped during the season, notably Danielle who spent 51 days waking up before dawn, doing census, extracting and banding birds, always with a smile and a quick laugh.


The young female Prairie Warbler

The soggy view on June 10th