Fall Colours



Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Oct 21-27

It was another interesting and enjoyable week at Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station as station personnel have been busy with chickadees, school groups and Saw-whet Owl monitoring in the evenings. The week began with temperatures near zero and north winds on the 21st which must have initiated some movement as 108 birds were banded including 46 Golden-crowned Kinglet, 8 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 12 White-throated Sparrow, 9 Slate-coloured Junco and a couple of Fox Sparrows. Wind and rain from the 21st-23rd effectively shut down the lab.  Migration monitoring resumed on the 24th when an estimated 140 Black-capped Chickadee were in the count area (30 banded). The station was once again closed on the 25th. October 27th featured the arrival of Eastern Bluebird and Snow Bunting along with noticeably higher counts of Horned Lark, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin and several raptor species. A total of 7 Red-tailed Hawks were tallied on the day which is a record high total for this species at TTPBRS. In terms of banding, Black-capped Chickadee were again observed moving through the count area in flocks of between 3 and 30 birds at a time and in the end 51 were banded and 7 recaptured. Finally on the 27th 48 birds were banded which included more Chickadees and a smattering of other late fall species such as Brown Creeper, Hermit Thrush, Downy Woodpecker and 7 sparrow species. As October draws to a close we only have 2 weeks left for fall 2005 but we can still look forward to increasing numbers of winter finches, waterfowl, raptors and owls and presumably more chickadees!  November 1st and 2nd are the last scheduled dates for our "winged migration" program for schools and I should mention how enjoyable it has been showing a few birds to the kids and teaching them about bird conservation.
As mentioned earlier the owl monitoring is in full swing and so far we have banded 60 Northern Saw-whets and have had 5 total recaptures. Of the 5 recaptures, 4 were foreign recoveries and just 1 was a "repeat" of a bird banded at TTPBRS!
Oct 21
46-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Field Sparrow
Oct 26
51-Black-capped Chickadee
1-American Tree Sparrow
Oct 21
1-Hairy Woodpecker (1st record for 2005)
110-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Gray-cheeked Thrush (late)
2-Black-throated Green Warbler
80-Slate-coloured Junco
Oct 24
12-American Wigeon
140-Black-capped Chickadee
Oct 26
5-Northern Pintail
1-Bald Eagle
7-Red-tailed Hawk
3-Horned Lark
15-Cedar Waxwing
6-American Tree Sparrow
1-Snow Bunting
1-Eastern Bluebird
Oct 27
275-Long-tailed Duck
Season Banding Total
Season Species Total



Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Oct 14-20

It has been our busiest fall ever at TTPBRS in terms of both the monitoring and education. Migrating birds continued to pass through the count area in high numbers this past week and we have also had a steady stream of school kids coming down as well. Kinglets were abundant on October 14 as ~100 each of Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglet were recorded. Hermit Thrush and Brown Creeper were also present in good numbers. The first American Tree Sparrow of the fall was banded on October 16th along with 87 individuals of other species. Most interesting on the day was the capture and banding of 20 Black-capped Chickadees which was a record high one-day banding total (previous mark of 10 on November 1-2004). Northwest winds on the 17th probably assisted in bringing another influx of migrants as 160 birds were banded and there was some flyover activity also. Pine Siskin and American Pipits were heard flying over throughout the morning although still in small numbers. Chickadees, Kinglets, Hermit Thrush and Dark-eyed Junco were the primary species moving that day. Speaking of Chickadees, an impressive 55 were banded and 120 were tallied on the day! We were clearly in the midst of a chickadee invasion as numbers like this had never been seen before at TTPBRS. More Chickadees and kinglets were on the move the next day although in lesser quantities. The slowest day of the week was October 19th as 23 birds were banded. This day featured the first substantive counts of waterfowl which included both species of Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Common Goldeneye and Bufflehead to name a few. The 20th featured another record breaking day at the station for Chickadees as 81 were banded! The Black-capped Chickadee is commonly considered a resident species however they do migrate and during October and November in some years their numbers in eastern North America can be significantly higher than "normal". These irruptions are attributed to seed crop failure in the north as well as higher breeding productivity.
Northern Saw-whet Owl Monitoring has begun for 2005 and thus far we have banded 31 owls in 7 nights of coverage.
HIGHLIGHTS (to name a few)
2-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Red-eyed Vireo
Oct 16
1-Gray Catbird
18-Myrtle Warbler
1-American Tree Sparrow
1-Fox Sparrow
Oct 17
55-Black-capped Chickadee
Oct 20
81-Black-capped Chickadee
37-Golden-crowned Kinglet
10-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Oct 14
16-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
1-Horned Lark
5-White-breasted Nuthatch
20-Winter Wren
82-Red-winged Blackbird
Oct 16
5-Sharp-shinned Hawk
40-Hermit Thrush
Oct 17
6-American Crow
120-Black-capped Chickadee
37-American Robin
8-Pine Siskin
Oct 18
245-Canada Goose
Oct 19
1-Ring-necked Duck
25-Long-tailed Duck
2-Ruddy Duck
2-American Coot
4-Rusty Blackbird
Season Banding Total
Season Species Total
Dan Derbyshire


Chickadees part 2

As a followup to yesterday we ended up banding 55 BCCH today and estimated over 100 were in the count area today. Historically only 98 Chickadees had been banded at TTPBRS since our beginning with the previous record one-day banding total being 10 birds on November 1st-2004! Black-capped Chickadees are an irruptive species and these kinds of numbers are seen regularly further north but it is more unusual to see that this far south. Maybe we will see a Boreal Chickadee with them this fall!
Dan Derbyshire
Coordinator, Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS)
Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA)



Lots of migrants moving through today and perhaps most interesting were the higher than normal numbers of Black-capped Chickadee. We banded 20 and there were probably more than 40-50 around today which was an all-time high for TTPBRS. Will it continue or was this an isolated occurrence?

Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Oct 7-13

October 7-13 was one of our busiest 7 day periods ever at TTPBRS. North winds and rain on the 7th kept the nets closed but census revealed some high activity. Even in the midst of a steady downpour after census it was clear that a substantial movement had occurred. The next day showed that as impressive numbers of kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Myrtle Warbler and several species of sparrow were evident during the morning and afternoon. A total of 205 birds were banded of 28 species and another 135 birds were released unbanded. Birds continued to move through in massive numbers on the 9th as 238 birds were banded and another 124 were released. Only 10 recaptures were recorded on the day which indicated a high rate of turnover and another influx. Intermittent drizzle on the 10th limited our net hours to just 1.5 out of a possible 90 although birds were still much in evidence including the first Pine Siskin of the fall. Continued north winds on the 11th yielded 131 banded and the first flocks of migrant Black-capped Chickadee. We had expected some sort of break at this point but found high numbers once again on the 12th which included 33 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2 banded) and 220 Ruby-crowned Kinglet (58 banded). A total of 137 birds were banded on the day. Remarkable numbers of birds were again detected on the 13th with a total of 205 birds banded. There is some early indication that Ruby-crowned Kinglet will surpass Golden-crowned as the most commonly captured bird at the station this fall which would be a first in our three-year history. Overall it was a tremendous week at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station and we still have a month to go yet!
Oct 8
5-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
3-Red-breasted Nuthatch
1-Fox Sparrow
1-Philadelphia Vireo
1-Northern Parula
1-Yellow Warbler
1-Pine Warbler
2-Scarlet Tanager
6-Swamp Sparrow
Oct 9
115-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Gray-cheeked Thrush
19-Hermit Thrush
Oct 11
3-Blue-headed Vireo
3-Black-throated Blue Warbler
Oct 12
1-House Wren
1-Northern Parula
Oct 13
1-Red-eyed Vireo
Oct 7
1-Black-and-white Warbler
Oct 8
60-Hermit Thrush
175-Myrtle Warbler
Oct 9
1-Northern Saw-whet Owl
300-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Chestnut-sided Warbler
70-White-throated Sparrow
Oct 11
18-Black-capped Chickadee
Oct 12
4-White-breasted Nuthatch
220-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
7-Blue-headed Vireo
Oct 13
1-Long-tailed Duck
40-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
18-Winter Wren
1-Wood Thrush
4-Common Yellowthroat
30-Slate-coloured Junco
Season Banding Total
Season Species Total
Saw-whet Owls Banded



Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Sept 30-Oct 6

The study area has taken on a distinctive golden colour as autumn has certainly settled in although one would have the impression that summer was still lingering with the warm temperatures we have been having. From previous reports you will know that warm-southerly weather in the fall usually means few birds at TTPBRS and this week was a good example. We banded 280 birds for the week culminating in a low of 12 from a full compliment of net hours on October 6. By contrast during the same week a year ago 626 birds were banded and more new arrivals were noted such as Fox Sparrow and Pine Siskin. We need not be concerned as cooler weather has already arrived and we anticipate some heavy migration during the next week. September 30 was a decent day as small numbers of kinglets, sapsuckers, Hermit Thrush and White-throated Sparrows were recorded. The day belonged to the Blue Jays however as some 3000 were estimated to have flown over during the morning. Also joining the flyover jays were the first largish groups of Red-winged Blackbirds, Rusty Blackbirds and American Pipits. It was quiet up until Oct 3 when 80 birds were banded of a respectable 20 species. The banding total consisted of 5 Red-eyed Vireo. Kinglets are easily the most prevalent bird species at Tommy Thompson Park right now and the bulk of our captures during the week were of these "little mites". A continuation of the high pressure conditions resulted in dwindling bird numbers for the update period. We are still on the verge of seeing major waves of kinglets, sparrows, hermit thrushes and creepers among others. So much yet to come.......

Our "Winged Migration" education program is in full swing as school groups are being welcomed daily at TTPBRS and will be for the rest of the month. Additionally, on Sept 30 we had 114 visitors from Deloitte & Touche join us for the day (in small flocks at a time!).

Sep 30
20-Golden-crowned Kinglet
5-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
7-Hermit Thrush
2-Black-throated Blue Warbler
Oct 1
1-American Redstart
Oct 2
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
Oct 3
7-Golden-crowned Kinglet
22-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
3-Swainson's Thrush
5-Red-eyed Vireo
Oct 4
1-Bay-breasted Warbler
1-Eastern Towhee

Sep 30
11-Green-winged Teal
4-Black-bellied Plover
2900-Blue Jay
85-Golden-crowned Kinglet
60-Red-winged Blackbird
Oct 1
1-White-winged Scoter
6-Rusty Blackbird
Oct 2
27-American Pipit
Oct 3
1-Eastern Towhee
Oct 6
9-Sharp-shinned Hawk

Season Banding Total (behind last year's pace for 1st time since mid-August)

Season Species Total



Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS-Sept 23-29

As expected the week of September 23rd-29th was our busiest of the fall so far, however high winds and rain resulted in an unusual amount of net closure. September 23rd was all about the warblers as 45 of the 59 total birds banded were of this family. Warblers and thrushes quickly gave way to kinglets, creepers and sparrows on the 24th when 158 birds were banded from just 35.5 standard net hours! It was as if fall had arrived overnight as late fall species were abundant and temperatures were noticeably cooler. Intermittent showers on the 25th again kept most of the nets closed. No monitoring was conducted on the 26th due to steady precipitation during the morning.The cold front resulted in another big day at Tommy Thompson Park as 164 birds were banded on the 27th. The most dominant species on the day were the kinglets and Myrtle Warbler however there were more House Wren, Hermit Thrush, Blue-headed Vireo and Black-throated Green Warblers around as well. Numbers of birds were certainly lower on the 28th although we can always count on kinglets to keep us occupied during late fall! Impressive 70km/hour winds on the 29th forced yet another cancellation of fieldwork although we were able to host our first school class of the fall. Interestingly September 23-29 was a busy week last year also. From the 23rd-29th in 2004 a total of 561 birds were banded from 624 net hours (1.1 birds/net hour). For the same period In 2005 450 birds were banded from just 281 net hours for a capture rate of 1.6 birds/net hour! Hopefully the weather will be a little more pleasant during the coming weeks as we strive towards maintaining a consistent level of coverage this year as previous years.
Sep 23
7-Gray-cheeked Thrush
1-Tennessee Warbler
1-Northern Parula
2-Blackburnian Warbler
Sep 24
1-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
4-Eastern Phoebe
3-Blue-headed Vireo
1-Orange-crowned Warbler
1-Scarlet Tanager
Sep 27
2-House Wren
29-Myrtle Warbler
5-Black-throated Green Warbler
Sep 23
14-Yellow-shafted Flicker
13-Palm Warbler
Sep 24
125-Golden-crowned Kinglet
135-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
5-Chipping Sparrow
120-White-throated Sparrow
Sep 27
1-Turkey Vulture
7-Tree Swallow
3-White-breasted Nuthatch
2-Eastern Towhee
Sep 28
1-Northern Pintail
7-American Pipit
1-Northern Shoveller
1-American Golden Plover
Season Banding Total
Season Species Total