|adult male Broad-winged Hawk|
This was to be our 3rd spring trapping these wonderful little Buteos which migrate north to breed all the way from South America. Last year was our best with 94 birds banded bringing the total to 137 caught since 2018.
This year we were hopeful for another good season and started a bit earlier on 17th April with a bird seen in the morning and one caught in the afternoon.
We had fitted alpha-numeric colour bands to birds starting in 2018 so we were hopeful to ring read some individuals in the field with a telescope and camera.
We were hampered by weather with snow flurries and rain with winds, but over the next week managed to catch a few birds and by the 27th had had an 8 bird day.
One of the highlights of the month was catching 8 adult Barred Owls! This was an unprecedented number of birds considering we only ever used to see one a year if we were lucky! A Red-shouldered Hawk was a wonderful Bonus too. It flew the first time we tried to catch it, so we went back the next day and on the 2nd pass back through the site, Charlotte spotted it deep in a woodlot. We set the trap and the bird came in and we caught it. The first adult male we have both seen in the hand and what a bird!
We also found a nesting pair of Red-shouldered Hawks too, this was a great find for this species which are not common and move up to this region to breed from further south.
As the weather improved, we started to see turtles on the road and so we rescued a few giant Snapping Turtle and some large Blanding's Turtles, the latter a threatened species in Ontario.
We also were extremely lucky to have seen two Fisher Cats by the side of the road with great views of this very seldom seen mustelid.
Probably the best bird encountered was not a captured one, but a resighting of an individual whom we had originally caught and metal banded only in 2018, then captured in 2019 and fitted with an additional colour band (X05) and now seen again at the exact same spot 2 years and 3 springs later!! We managed to spot 6 individual birds with alpha numeric numbered rings on
We were lucky to have been able to stay in a cottage on 2 occasions where we set mist nets and managed to catch a nice mix of species:
|Red-shouldered Hawk adult male|
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black and white Warbler
During the Month of May, we managed to catch and band 66 Broadwings 8 Barred Owls, a Red-shouldered Hawk, 5 American Kestrels and a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
We had come to realise that catching this many Broadwings, (current total at 204 birds), was something special, as no big numbers are caught other than at raptor blinds of birds on passage. In the history of N American banding, we seemed to have caught and banded some 20% of the all time total!
Therefore it wasn't long before we attracted the attention of Becca Mcabe who was researching Broadwings with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. She came across from Montreal with 3 transmitters to fit on birds as part of the Broadwinged Hawk Project. We re looking to catch the larger female birds of over 390 grams and we soon had them with birds of 508g 405g and 411g. One of the birds after release travelled 400 km east and has since remains in an area north of Kingston Ontario, while the other two look like they will remain in our study area to breed.
We had found several Broadwing nests and some of the larger females caught had well developed brood patches and had started primary moult. So far all the birds we had caught were adults and we had only seen 4 juvenile (2nd year) birds though all of May, so it was really exciting one morning in early June to catch 2 individuals which were also at the same stage of primary moult as the adults. The juveniles will take a year to begin moulting into their adult plumage and mostly do so on their wintering grounds further south.
We are continuing to monitor the nesting pairs of Broadwings and will soon be looking to trap adults now with young to feed. We are also very keen to catch recently fledged juveniles when we will be able to pinpoint the natal areas from a banding perspective.
Further news on the satellite tracked birds will be available in the next blog.
|2nd year male Sharp-shinned Hawk|
|adult Barred Owl|
|adult Barred Owl|
|Black-throated Green Warbler|
|X76 from 2019!|
|10kgs of hissing and very cross turtle!|
|wonderful shot of a moulting 2nd year|
|the very hard to see Fisher|
|sitting Red-shouldered Hawk|