Ending in a smoky feeling 

During the last week of monitoring, the clear sky was often obscured by a smoky haze, drifting smokes from forest fires in Northwest Quebec or sometimes from Ontario. On June 8, I even donned a mask outside to do the net rounds and spent most of the time inside in between: the smell of smoke was heavy, it was like sitting by a campfire, minus the singing and banter. Daily banding totals this past week were quite low with the last migratory birds like Yellow-bellied or Alder Flycatchers trickling through.

The last day of monitoring, June 10, brought an interesting tale of two birds. A Grey-cheeked Thrush was captured at dawn with a fat score of 4, clearly still intent on migrating. Their breeding range is the furthest North of the Catharus thrushes, which for Ontario is on the rim of Hudson Bay. Later in the day, another Catharus thrush, a Veery was caught, with no fat but a developed Cloacal Protuberance (which results in the production of sperm during the breeding season caused by a pulse of testosterone, which also promotes increased song rate for mate attraction). That said, this bird was certainly a local breeder, having finished its migration, even though it came from as far south as the Grey-cheeked Thrush (somewhere in southwest Brazil for Veery, somewhere in northwest Brazil – and adjoining countries – for Grey-cheeked Thrush).

Nets were furled one last time on June 10 after 6 hours, closing an amazing stretch of 17 perfect days of daily 6 hours of mist netting! As a result, in part, of many hours with nets open, the banding total for spring 2023 is the fourth highest, with 1934 birds banded of 68 species. A total of 161 species were detected during the monitoring period, with another species, Common Nighthawk, only seen in the evening. All in all, it was a good Spring season, thanks in no small part to the volunteers who helped make it all possible. 

Enjoy the months of Summer and see you all in the Fall! (which starts on August 15 at the Cabot Head Research Station)