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5/14/2008

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Migration Monitoring at TTPBRS: May 6-12, 2008

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Seabrooke Leckie/TTPBRS)

May 6-12, 2008, was a week with relatively few birds compared to previous spring seasons at TTPBRS. North winds were dominant during the period, which must have stalled north bound migrants. However, even a quiet week at TTPBRS is filled with discovery and wonder as some old friends returned, over 350 visitors were welcomed, and some new records were established!

May 6 was the most active day of the week as 77 birds were banded and 72 species recorded in the six hour count period. An impressive 40 Palm Warblers were noted, their buzzy trills seeming to echo from all directions throughout the morning. Ruby-crowned Kinglet, White-throated Sparrow, Palm and Myrtle Warblers were the most abundant species captured. Great Crested Flycatcher, newly arrived, and 10 warbler species were documented. Light south winds on May 7 pushed some migrants in from the south as another 74 birds were banded and just 6 recaptured. Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush and Eastern Kingbird were spotted for the first time in 2008. A group of 103 curious and eager students from The Bishop Strachan School were welcomed late morning. North winds returned to hold the birds up again on May 8. Just 28 birds were banded during an abbreviated morning of coverage due to high winds. A Northern Parula was banded, and another tally of 40 Palm Warblers were notable. A cool and windy May 9 was even quieter with just 14 birds banded and 7 recaptured during the 2.5 hours of coverage. A Brown-headed Cowbird was observed attacking and eventually drowning a rival male cowbird to death in the north slough of the study area. This was a fascinating, if somewhat morbid, event to behold and should be documented for the official record. May 10 was the Tommy Thompson Park Spring Bird Festival, which ran from 7am-4pm. The day-long event was very well attended and the birds did not disappoint. Thanks to all the volunteers, University of Guelph Wild Bird Clinic and the Fatal Light Awareness Program for their support! A record-setting estimate of 5-7 Orchard Orioles on the spit was the highlight of the day. Those pesky winds from the north forced an early closure once again on May 11. As expected, the weather kept things quiet as just 25 birds were banded. Twelve Least Flycatchers, a singing Tennessee Warbler and 10 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were noteworthy.

NEWS and NOTES

Returns

We are pleased to report that a good number of returning breeders were found this past week, which included a couple of Yellow Warblers and a Brown Thrasher originally banded in spring 2003!

FlightNotes

The spring issue of FlightNotes, newsletter of the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station, will be coming to you very soon. A spring and summer slate of members' events are included in the issue.

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WEEK (banding totals in bold)

May 6
90-Bonaparte's Gull
2-Least Flycatcher
9-Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1-Great Crested Flycatcher
4-Magnolia Warbler
85-Myrtle Warbler
40-Palm Warbler
2-Savannah Sparrow
130-White-throated Sparrow

May 7
3-Least Flycatcher
1-Eastern Kingbird
61-Blue Jay
1-Wood Thrush
10-American Pipit
2-Northern Parula
1-Scarlet Tanager
8-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1-Rusty Blackbird

May 8
1-Northern Parula
40-Palm Warbler
1-Lincoln's Sparrow

May 9
7-Common Loon
2-Chimney Swift
1-Northern Waterthrush
1-Orchard Oriole

May 10
2-Orchard Oriole

May 11
3-Veery
1-Blackburnian Warbler
8-Rose-breasted Grosbeak
8-Baltimore Oriole

May 12
1-Lesser Yellowlegs
12-Least Flycatcher
1-Wood Thrush
1-Tennessee Warbler
10-Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Season Banding Total
2008-980
2007-1666
2006-1444
2005-1288
2004-1376

Season Species Total
2008-155
2007-156
2006-145
2005-142
2004-153