Fall Migration Monitoring: Hatch Year Field Sparrow

Fall Migration Monitoring: Hatch Year Field Sparrow

We caught a Field Sparrow at Cypress Hills! The winds have been very strong lately, blowing from the east one day and the west the next. Perhaps this bird just got carried a little out of its range – these sparrows typically breed and migrate through eastern North America. Regradless of how it ended up at CHIP, it was pretty amazing to band one.

In the last week of August we saw Pied-billed Grebes, Red-necked Grebes and more than thirty Scoters on the lake in front of the station. Most of the ducks in the area stay on the shallower east side of the lake. In addition, we are still seeing a lot of raptors, in both numbers and species diversity.  This past week we’ve seen Northern Harriers, Merlins, Goshawks, Osprey, Turkey Vultures, Cooper’s Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks.

Evidence of the changes in species composition with the season change is quite obvious in the Wablers.We began seeing more Wilson’s Warblers and far fewer Yellows; their numbers are dwindling compared to ten days ago when we banded close to twenty in a day. There are still a few hanging around but our determined male singers have moved on. Now when we see a small yellow bird in a tree it usually turns out to be a Wilson’s, whereas a week ago you could pretty much guarantee it was a Yellow Warbler.  We have also seen the first migrating Yellow-rumped Warblers of the fall and caught two juveniles. In May we saw hundreds of these at the station; “Audubon’s”, “Myrtle” and Orange-crowned Wablers were among the first Warblers that arrived in large numbers. Although we have caught and seen a few Orange-crowned, it’s difficult to tell if they are the resident breeders or if they are arriving from further North. Finally, we’ve started catching Blackpoll Warblers and Black and White Warblers. Altough we don’t see or band many, this is still indicative of migration as we hadn’t seen any all summer.

As far as other migrants, the Catbirds are still around in large numbers – I heard one today mimicking the noise the net rungs make when we open the nets (we have small metal rings that slide up and down the poles). The American Robins are also moving through in flocks larger than 50 birds. This week we caught our first Lincoln Sparrow of 2012 and we caught two Ruby-crowned Kinglets in two days, which have barely been seen at the station all summer. It’s shaping up to be a very interesting fall.

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About chipmigration

The Calgary Bird Banding Society is a non-profit research organization conducting the third year of a landbird monitoring project at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta. Bird banding is an integral aid to the study and protection of wild birds. It is typically facilitated by using a mist net. Birds fly into the mist net, are gently removed and a permanent aluminum light-weight band is placed around the lower leg. Often the birds are measured, weighed, sexed and aged before release back into the wild. When a banded bird is recovered, the number and information on the band is used to trace migratory patterns and other vital data. This information made available to the banding and scientific communities. The data is invaluable to many scientific studies, including Global Warming and Pollution research.
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