Another week of migration monitoring has passed and the 7-day period can be best summed up by the meager total of 64 birds that were banded. In other words, it was extremely quiet for late fall species such as juncos, chickadees, kinglets and American Tree Sparrows, to name a few. Conversely, landbirds flying over the station were plentiful as mixed flocks of blackbirds and smaller groups of finches, Snow Buntings and American Pipits were recorded in strong numbers. Common Redpolls are being recorded on a daily basis and in decent numbers, which is significant given that the species had not been recorded since the fall of 2004. It was even more of a surprise to find one in our nets on October 28 as, much like Pine Siskins, they rarely land in our study area. Record late sightings of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on October 29 and a Monarch Butterfly on October 30 were noteworthy. A couple of rattling Lapland Longspurs flew over on November 3, which brought the season species total to a record high 184.
Northern Saw-whet Owls continued to migrate through the Toronto lakeshore in record numbers as 67 were banded from two nights of effort during the week. A total of 305 Saw-whets and 1 Long-eared Owl have been captured this fall. This figure includes 7 recoveries of owls originally banded elsewhere. The Owls Up Close event for TTPBRS members was held in two parts due to overwhelming interest, and took place on October 28 and November 1. A combined total of 27 visitors were welcomed and I am very pleased to report that all in attendance got to see an owl!
The last day of the Fall Migration Monitoring Program will be November 12, at which point we will take down the nets and pack up the lab for a few months of number crunching. We have 7 days left and can look forward to increasing numbers of wintering waterfowl, more owls and hopefully more high flying landbirds.
Interesting Recovery of a Northern Saw-whet Owl
Encountering an owl with a band number that doesn't match your current string is not unusual, as the number of foreign recoveries is much higher for owls than it is for songbirds. In fact, we recapture more owls banded elsewhere than we do of "our" own. It was therefore a great surprise for us to recapture 0924-03480 (an adult male) on November 3, 2007, which was originally banded as a young bird at TTPBRS on October 27, 2006!
HIGHLIGHTS (banding totals in bold)
12-American Tree Sparrow
Birds Banded: Aug 5-Nov 3
Species Recorded: Aug 5-Nov 3