Stéphane’s Blog for June 09, 2011

Almost End of Season!

We are on our second last day of banding of the spring migration monitoring season of 2011! And it’s never too late to get a “good bird”: there was a Northern Mockingbird seen this morning, the first for the season. It is a species seen almost every spring, but with only usually one or 2 individuals.

Let’s talk numbers a bit now. Not including birds banded today (and tomorrow, of course), we have banded this spring 1,431 birds of 64 species, which is very much average (although variations are important between years: 1,145 birds in 2010 as the lowest; 2,431 birds in 2002 as the highest). Most species were captured in average numbers. Only 3 species had record numbers this spring: Sharp-shinned Hawk (with 34 individuals); Brown Creeper (with 89 birds, easily beating the previous record of 65); Swainson’s Thrush (with 43 birds, just one more than in 2006).

Numerous flocks of Black-capped Chickadees have been seen this spring, much more than usual. Consequently, 162 chickadees were banded, second-highest total (342 birds in 2002). Usually, very few chickadees are banded (between 6 and 22).

On the other side of the scale, very, very few White-crowned Sparrows were seen and banded: only 4 birds were captured, a sharp contrast to previous years (range of 14 to 69). They also arrived very late in season.

With the wet, wild spring, many days of banding were lost due to rain and/or strong winds. We had a higher-than-average 11 days with no banding at all, as well as days with limited banding. But the meadows at Cabot Head are lush, filled with brilliant wildflowers, not the least being the most spectacular display of Blue-eyed Grass I’ve ever seen (and Rod has ever seen in 40 years+ of roaming the Bruce).