Our spring migration came to a close last week. The last 5 days at the station we continued to catch cedar waxwings, with very little fat, some migrating stragglers, like a red-eyed vireo, and a plethora of locally breeding birds.
Most of the breeding birds had, at the very least, began to sing all day. While all other species, such as American Robins, Yellow Warblers, Grey Catbirds and Least Flycatchers were showing brood patches. The Pine Siskins that moved into the banding station in late May were accounting for a quarter of birds caught in the last week, we also kept catching the bank swallows that live in a colony on the North shore across the lake. Before the station opened a beaver took down a few trees near one of our nets exposing a couple of meters of the net near a small peninsula – the bank swallows swarm the area to catch flying insects and usually forget to avoid the net while chasing each other. We rarely caught less than three swallows at a time.
This year we caught 502 birds, banded 372 birds, 43 species and handled 46 species. A relatively slow spring as we opened late and had relatively poor weather including a few snow days in late May. We are now moving onto our summer MAPS projects throughout Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.