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4/10/2008

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Seabrooke Leckie/TTPBRS)

Our 6th season of the Migration Monitoring Program at TTPBRS got underway on April 1! A lot of discussion in the preceding weeks focused on whether or not the study area would be submerged under several inches of ice on opening day. We were pleased to find little or no snow on April 1, along with an impressive tally of 41 species on day one. Wind and rain limited our coverage to the daily census and a scant banding effort. Any thoughts that migration might be delayed in 2008 were quickly dismissed as a strong variety of migrants were noted including good numbers of Eastern Phoebes and Golden-crowned Kinglets as well as singles of Evening Grosbeak, Winter Wren and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Conditions turned cold on April 2, resulting in 15 birds banded in 3 hours of banding effort. Thirteen species were first arrivals for the spring, which included Glaucous Gull, Hermit Thrush and Rusty Blackbird. Overnight sub-zero temperatures on April 3 likely kept northbound migrants at bay as just 5 birds were banded in 4 hours of effort. During the morning our work was documented by the Toronto Star for an article appearing earlier this week. Fieldwork was limited to the daily census on April 4 due to steady showers and wet snow throughout the morning. None of this weather was helping migration as a meagre 4 birds were banded on April 5. Despite the low numbers of birds, new arrivals included Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Meadowlark and Osprey. April 6 was warm with winds from the ENE. Birding was much the same as the previous day although a Sandhill Crane flying low over the tree line was a definite highlight! Winds switched to south overnight which led to 54 birds banded on April 7. Suddenly, the TTPBRS study area was alive with the sights and sounds of spring. Fox Sparrows, Tree Swallows and White-throated Sparrows were welcome additions to the study area.

In sum, it has been an exciting start to a new season of fieldwork at TTPBRS, and it is remarkable to think that 5 years have passed already since this whole initiative began. We owe it all to the tremendous contributions of our dedicated volunteers and supporters and we look forward to another year in the study and protection of birds in Toronto!

NEWS and NOTES

Common Redpoll Recovered

A Common Redpoll banded at TTPBRS on November 16, 2007 was recovered at Port Rowan, ON on March 22, 2008. This was the 23rd individual and the 10th species banded at TTPBRS to be recovered elsewhere.

In The Media

TTPBRS was recently featured in the Toronto Star (April 7) and on GlobalTV (April 8) during the first week of fieldwork in 2008!

Some exciting news will be presented in the next issue of FlightNotes, the tri-annual newsletter of the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station. The issue will be distributed by late April. In the meantime, you can follow along with the spring migration at our website.


SOME HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK (banding records in bold)

April 1
1-Great Blue Heron
7-Killdeer
4-American Woodcock
1-Northern Saw-whet Owl
1-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
8-Eastern Phoebe
5-Golden-crowned Kinglet
5-Horned Lark
1-Evening Grosbeak

April 2
3-American Coot
4-Brown Creeper
21-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Winter Wren
1-Hermit Thrush
1-Rusty Blackbird
2-Glaucous Gull

April 3
7-Wood Duck
5-Canvasback
6-Bonaparte's Gull
1-Common Redpoll
1-Lapland Longspur

April 5
1-Turkey Vulture
6-Northern Pintail
1-Osprey
1-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
170-Red-winged Blackbird
1-Eastern Meadowlark

April 6
1-Common Loon
80-Common Merganser
1-Cooper's Hawk
5-Bonaparte's Gull
1-Sandhill Crane
1-Field Sparrow

April 7
1-Northern Harrier
5-Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
3-Tree Swallow
55-Golden-crowned Kinglet
1-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-American Pipit
7-Fox Sparrow
1-White-throated Sparrow
9-Song Sparrow
15-Slate-colored Junco
2-Common Redpoll

Birds Banded: April 1-7
2008-95
2007-192
2006-71
2005-249

Species Recorded: April 1-7
2008-76
2007-60
2006-59
2005-78