June 4 – 30, 2005


A variety of butterfly species were observed at MBO in June, with this Baltimore Checkerspot standing out as the rarest of them all, and also one of the most striking in appearance. (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)

# birds (and species) banded 1 (1) 1 (1) 710 (66) 1631 (78)
# birds (and species) repeat 243 (18) 421 (28)
# birds (and species) return 29 (6) 31 (7)
# species observed 64 64 137 155
# net hours 0 0 1620.9 2595.4
# birds banded / net hour 44.0 62.8

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls).

Bander-in-charge: Marcel Gahbauer Assistants: Gay Gruner, Marie-Anne Hudson, Chris Murphy, Jen Pearson, Mike Ross, Jen Tyler

Notes: For the month of June we shut down the nets and simply monitored the birds present in the area. The standard census was done twice a week for most of the month, and supplementary observations were made during additional visits. Of the 64 species observed during the month, the majority of have been seen repeatedly and are likely breeding on site. Highlights among these include Green Heron, Veery, American Redstart, Indigo Bunting, and 5 species of woodpecker.

The Tree Swallow boxes were checked periodically, and the first hatchlings (17 of them in four boxes!) were discovered on June 10. At that time another 25 eggs remained in other boxes, so the population is likely to grow much further still. Nests of several other species have been found, including Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, Gray Catbird, Eastern Phoebe, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, and Song Sparrow. An abandoned Pied-billed Grebe nest with scattered eggshells was also discovered, but it was not clear whether they had nested successfully or been the victim of predation.

In early July we will resume banding on an occasional basis, hopefully catching some of the recent fledglings so that we’ll be able to recognize them if they return to MBO next spring.

One of the many nests at MBO being monitored as part of a PhD research project on nest productivity. There are three Red-winged Blackbirds in this photo – the two with open beaks are roughly 3 and 4 days old, and are sitting on top of another 3-day-old sibling. (Photo by Marie-Anne Hudson)




July 1 – 31, 2005


What strange bird is this?  It’s nowhere to be found in the majority of field guides, yet it is one of the most common species at MBO in summer!  The answer is that this is the rarely seen juvenile plumage of the Yellow Warbler. It is only retained for a brief period after they leave the nest, with the first prebasic moult prior to migration already giving them the ‘normal’ yellow plumage. (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)  

# birds (and species) banded 23 (10) 24 (11) 733 (66) 1654 (78)
# birds (and species) repeat 2 (2) 2 (2) 245 (18) 423 (28)
# birds (and species) return 29 (6) 31 (7)
# species observed 68 77 139 156
# net hours 34.0 0 1654.9 2629.4
# birds banded / net hour 67.6 70.6 44.5 62.9

Note: table does not include nocturnal banding (owls).

Bander-in-charge: Marcel Gahbauer Assistants: Jean Demers, Gay Gruner, Marie-Anne Hudson, Betsy McFarlane, Chris Murphy, Jen Pearson, Mike Ross, Clémence Soulard, Jen Tyler

Notes: For the second month in a row, a new heat record was set for Montreal. With daily high temperatures often remaining above 30 Celsius for a week or more at a time, there were very few mornings cool enough to safely operate the nets for any length of time. As a result, we made only a few short attempts at banding the local juveniles. While we weren’t surprised to see Song Sparrow at the top of the short list that resulted, it was quite unexpected that Veery was right behind in second place!

The Tree Swallow boxes continued to be checked in July. The visits weren’t quite frequent enough to verify the success of all, but our best estimate is that around 25 Tree Swallows and at least half a dozen House Sparrows were raised in the boxes this year. House Wrens occupied both boxes near the front gate, and filled both to the brim with sticks, but it didn’t appear that they actually nested in either one.

Overall, we observed young of 23 species on the site over the past two months:  Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mourning Dove, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-eyed Vireo, Veery, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Cardinal, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Baltimore Oriole, and House Sparrow. While the Great Blue Herons clearly did not nest locally, it is known or expected that all of the others did. Several other species were observed making unsuccessful nesting attempts, including Eastern Phoebe, Brown Thrasher, and Cedar Waxwing. No doubt many of the other summer residents also nested out of our sight.

The total for the summer season (June and July) is 76 species observed, including 67 in July. Among them was a species never before observed at MBO, the Red-breasted Merganser. A female observed on the back ponds during census in mid-July became the 156th species for the site checklist.

A juvenile Veery, speckled both below and above, and with just a thin layer of feathers beginning to cover the crown. One of four banded at MBO this summer; it appears there were at least two, if not three, successful nests. (Photo by Marcel Gahbauer)