Migration Monitoring Summary for the Period April 1st- 14th, 2009


Pelee Island Bird Observatory





PIBO’s 7th spring season of migration monitoring coverage got underway at Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve on April 1st. It was a clear and mild morning with a moderate breeze from the southwest. Migrants were active on the lake, with 63 Buffleheads recorded on census along with Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, and a variety of other waterfowl species. An Eared Grebe observed on the west beach was a PIBO first. Landbirds were also active – Golden-crowned Kinglets (34 DT) and Song Sparrows (24) were observed in good numbers on the census as well as smaller counts of Tree Swallows, Winter Wrens, Brown Creepers, and Fox Sparrows.


The warm weather continued for a few more days but the wind shifted to the northwest and steady rain set-in on the 3rd. Birds continued to move through the area but in smaller numbers than earlier in the week, including 4 captured Rusty Blackbirds, which was a first for the station. Although a common bird on migration, they’re not banded very often – just 21 Rusties were captured in Ontario in 2007, for example, out of a total of almost 120,000 banded birds.


The rain let-up on the 4th but strong north winds and cool temperatures made for a quiet few days, with just 29 species recorded in the count area on the 4th and not much in the way of new arrivals on the 5th or 6th. Light snow flurries on the morning of the 6th didn’t help matters and very few birds were recorded on the day.


The second week of coverage started off on a busier note when 42 species were tallied on the 8th and a nice variety of birds were banded including 8 Eastern Phoebes. Golden-crowned Kinglets were dominant along with small numbers of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Brown Creepers, and a variety of sparrow species. A Virginia Rail was heard calling from Fox Pond. After a brief lull on the 9th, activity picked up again the next day when 27 birds were banded and 48 species were recorded during the official count period. A Red-shouldered Hawk observed in the netting area was new for 2009.


After another fairly active morning on April 11th, PIBO staff were greeted by sub-zero temperatures and more north winds the following day and these wintry conditions persisted right through to the end of the coverage period. A few migrants continued to filter through the area despite the inclement weather including spring ‘firsts’ for Purple Martin, Barn and Bank Swallow.   


Hermit Thrush photo – Claire Sanders


PIBO’s next summary will be posted on April 23rd.


Hi Sumiko, from everyone on Pelee Island!