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4/17/2010

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Spring Migration Monitoring: Week 2



Fox Sparrow by volunteer Don Johnston

Well, the beautiful weather couldn’t last forever! As temperatures in the second week of monitoring took a dive, so did bird activity. New species are arriving every day, but we aren’t seeing the numbers that have been reported elsewhere. The wet woods at the base lands had Yellow-rumped Warblers days before we saw them at the station. Last April they were back when we began monitoring on April 1st. White-throated Sparrows didn’t arrive until April 14th, at least two weeks later than usual. With the mild climate at the beginning of the month, one would expect birds to be showing up early. Could the dry conditions have something to do with it? Last year the “ditch” along the middle of Peninsula D was full of water, so much that carp were swimming in it. This year it is dry as a bone. That does not bode well for insects, the primary food source for many migrant songbirds.

SPECIES

Apr-07

Apr-10

Apr-11

Apr-12

Apr-13

TOTAL

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker



2

1


3

Downy Woodpecker




1


1

Hairy Woodpecker

1





1

Northern Flicker



1



1

Eastern Phoebe



1



1

Brown Creeper

3

1


2


6

Golden-crowned Kinglet

13


3

9

2

27

Ruby-crowned Kinglet




1


1

Hermit Thrush

1


7


1

9

Eastern Towhee



1



1

Field Sparrow





1

1

Fox Sparrow



2



2

Song Sparrow

1


2

3

1

7

Swamp Sparrow

1


1



2

Dark-eyed Junco


1


4


5

Brown-headed Cowbird





1

1

TOTAL

20

2

20

21

6

69


The colonial waterbirds are back: Common and Caspian Terns, as well as the Black-crowned Night Herons. Tree Swallows are still squabbling over nest boxes and cavities, and Bank Swallows were seen for the first time today. Song Sparrows, Northern Cardinals and Red-winged Blackbirds have paired up, and the first American Robin nests are well under way.

We had some of the more unusual gulls passing through this week – a second-year Iceland Gull and flocks of Bonaparte’s Gulls.

The major highlight of the week was a Peregrine Falcon perched in the study area in plain view for almost the entire day! It took a break to have a bath in the lake until the gulls chased it back to its perch. Look closely and you will notice a band on its leg: 30 over Y. The MNR bands most of the Peregrines in Toronto, so hopefully they will be able to discern which individual this is.

Peregrine Falcon by Brett Tryon