Stéphane’s Posting for Aug. 26, 2011

Birds on the Move!

It is still summer with bright sun and warm temperatures but, for some birds, it is already time to move South, albeit maybe more slowly than in spring. This morning, after a very calm and clear night, we got our very first true migrant: a young female Wilson’s Warbler! This species doesn’t breed on the Bruce Peninsula, so any encounter, even in August, means it is a migrant! Fall migration has thus officially begun!

However, we probably got other migrants before this special Wilson’s Warbler: a few birds we captured carried some loads of fat, another good indication of a migratory state of mind. Fat is the preferred fuel for songbird migrants. There were a few Northern Waterthrushes, one Black&White Warbler, and one Least Flycatcher with visible fat…

During the first week of banding (August 16 to 22), 184 birds were banded, short of 3 birds to tie with the highest total for this week (in 2008). Since then, it’s been much quieter: we missed a day of banding on last Wednesday, having strong wind and some rain (but, luckily, no tornadoes); the other days were very quiet and we are definitively hoping for things to pick up…

On Sunday, August 21, “our” eaglet took its first flight! It was a cloudy but windless day and we watched the young Bald Eagle flying for the first time, carefully watched and shepherded by its parents. Every time it veered away from the safety of the bluff updrafts, an adult would catch up with it and made it turn around back toward the bluffs! All in all, the proud parents seemed to be happy with this first successful flight out of the nest!