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Week 3, 2017: A quiet week

August 26, 2017

Hi all;

Week 3 of the banding season was a very slow week. Numbers of many of the local station breeders are very low which is possibly due to this year’s wet spring and early summer causing an abbreviated breeding season as birds started nesting later and as a result completed fewer broods and finished breeding earlier. Results from another bander seem to confirm the early departure.
For the week we banded 106 birds of 22 species and recaptured 31 birds of 8 species. This is the second lowest week 3 banding total and the species total is also the second lowest. New banded species for the week were Cooper’s Hawk, Rufous Hummingbird, Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker, Chipping Sparrow and Lincoln’s Sparrow. Banding highlights included Cooper’s Hawk-1 (10th banding record) and Rufous Hummingbird-1. Here’s the banding numbers for the week and the season ( ).

Sharp-shinned Hawk-0 (1)
Cooper’s Hawk-1 (1)
Sora-0 (1)
Black-chinned Hummingbird-0 (1)
Rufous Hummingbird-1 (1)
Downy Woodpecker-0 (1)
Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker-1 (1)
Western Wood-pewee-2 (11)
Willow Flycatcher-9 (54)
Alder Flycatcher-0 (1) (2nd banding record)
Least Flycatcher-0 (4)
Hammond’s Flycatcher-0 (1)
Unidentified empid-0 (1)
Eastern Kingbird-1 (4)
Warbling Vireo-0 (1)
Black-capped Chickadee-0 (8)
Marsh Wren-1 (20)
Veery-3 (8)
Swainson’s Thrush-2 (3)
American Robin-0 (5)
Gray Catbird-22 (87)
Cedar Waxwing-2 (75)
Orange-crowned Warbler-2 (5)
Yellow Warbler-8 (34)
Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler-0 (1)
Yellow-rumped (unidentified) Warbler-0 (1)
Northern Waterthrush-4 (36)
MacGillivray’s Warbler-0 (4)
Common Yellowthroat-22 (45)
Wilson’s Warbler-1 (3)
Yellow-breasted Chat-0 (3)
Western Tanager-1 (3)
Spotted Towhee-1 (2)
Chipping Sparrow-1 (1)
Lark Sparrow-0 (1) (3rd banding record)
Song Sparrow-13 (47)
Lincoln’s Sparrow-2 (2)
Black-headed Grosbeak-0 (6)
Lazuli Bunting-0 (2)
Bullock’s Oriole-0 (1)
Brown-headed Cowbird-0 (3) (ties season record)
House Finch-0 (1) (5th banding record)
American Goldfinch-6 (79)

Total-106 (570) birds of 22 (41) species plus 2 birds of 2 additional forms banded plus 32 (112) birds of 8 (14) species recaptured.

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Week 2, 2017: Waxwing invasion

August 18, 2017

Week 2 started with 9 nets open but we got a 10th net up by the middle of the week. For the week we banded 219 birds of 24 species and recaptured 38 birds of 10 species. The banding total is 60 birds above the average for the week. New banded species for the year were Black-chinned Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Swainson’s Thrush, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Lark Sparrow and House Finch. Banding highlights for the week were Black-chinned Hummingbird-1, Least Flycatcher-2, Yellow-breasted Chat-2, Lark Sparrow-1 (3rd banding record) and House Finch-1 (5th banding record). Certainly another highlight was a large influx of Cedar Waxwings resulting in 62 being banded, double the season average.

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This Lark Sparrow was only the 3rd one ever banded at VLBO.

Here are the banding totals for week 2 and for the season ( ):
Sharp-shinned Hawk-0 (1)
Sora-0 (1)
Black-chinned Hummingbird-1 (1)
Downy Woodpecker-1 (1)
Western Wood-pewee-5 (9)
Willow Flycatcher-19 (45)
Alder Flycatcher-0 (1) (2nd banding record)
Least Flycatcher-2 (4)
Hammond’s Flycatcher-0 (1)
Unid entified empid-0 (1)
Eastern Kingbird-3 (3)
Warbling Vireo-0 (1)
Black-capped Chickadee-3 (8)
Marsh Wren-8 (19)
Veery-3 (5)
Swainson’s Thrush-1 (1)
American Robin-0 (5)
Gray Catbird-26 (65)
Cedar Waxwing-62 (73)
Orange-crowned Warbler-0 (3)
Yellow Warbler-7 (26)
Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler-0 (1)
Yellow-rumped (unidentified) Warbler-0 (1)
Northern Waterthrush-16 (32)
MacGillivray’s Warbler-4 (4)
Common Yellowthroat-11 (23)
Wilson’s Warbler-1 (2)
Yellow-breasted Chat-2 (3)
Western Tanager-0 (2)
Spotted Towhee-0 (1)
Lark Sparrow-1 (1) (3rd banding record)
Song Sparrow-13 (34)
Black-headed Grosbeak-3 (6)
Lazuli Bunting-1 (2)
Bullock’s Oriole-0 (1)
Brown-headed Cowbird-0 (3) (ties season record)
House Finch-1 (1) (5th banding record)
American Goldfinch-25 (73)

Total-219 (464) birds of 24 (36) species plus 2 additional forms banded plus 38 (80) birds of 10 (13) species recaptured.

Week 1, 2017: A new season begins!

August 17, 2017

The banding station opened on August 1st with only 8 of our normal 14 nets up due to high water at the station. There’s just too much water still from the spring flooding. We banded 30 birds on the first day with the highlight being a Sharp-shinned Hawk. We managed to get a 9th net up on the 5th day as the water receded some.
During the 1st week we banded 245 birds of 29 species and recaptured 42 birds of 8 species. The banding total is 50 birds above the week 1 average, a great result considering the fact that one third of our nets are not up. Highlights for the week were Sharp-shinned Hawk-1, Sora-1, Alder Flycatcher-1 (2nd banding record), Least Flycatcher-2 and Yellow-breasted Chat-1. We also banded an unidentified empidonax flycatcher that was almost certainly a hybrid. The measurements we took matched no species. Here’s the banding results for the 1st week.

Sharp-shinned Hawk-1
Sora-1
Western Wood-pewee-4
Willow Flycatcher-26
Alder Flycatcher-1 (2nd banding record)
Least Flycatcher-2
Hammond’s Flycatcher-1
Unidentified empid-1
Warbling Vireo-1
Black-capped Chickadee-5
Marsh Wren-11
Veery-2
American Robin-5
Gray Catbird-39
Cedar Waxwing-11
Orange-crowned Warbler-3
Yellow Warbler-19
Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler-1
Yellow-rumped (unidentified) Warbler-1
Northern Waterthrush-16
Common Yellowthroat-12
Wilson’s Warbler-1
Yellow-breasted Chat-1
Western Tanager-2
Spotted Towhee-1
Song Sparrow-21
Black-headed Grosbeak-3
Lazuli Bunting-1
Bullock’s Oriole-1
Brown-headed Cowbird-3 (ties season record)
American Goldfinch-48

Total-245 birds of 29 species plus 2 additional forms banded and 42 birds of 8 species recaptured

Great Canadian Birdathon Fundraiser – The Okanagan Big Day

April 15, 2017

The Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory (VLBO) is once again organizing a “Great Canadian Birdathon” as part of the Meadowlark Nature Festival on May 20, 2017. This event is a fundraiser in support of the important conservation work and operations at VLBO.

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Orange-crowned Warbler

Did you know that 340 species of birds can be found in the Okanagan? And 205 of those breed here! Our region is one of the most ecologically unique in Canada and has an amazing diversity of birds! Unfortunately many ecosystems in the Okanagan are threatened because native habitat is under pressure from increasing development. Several species of birds classified as ‘species-at-risk’ depend on native habitats in the Okanagan to breed, refuel during migration and sustain themselves during winter. VLBO is a banding station in the South Okanagan which conducts research on migrating birds. This research contributes towards bird population trend analyses at national and regional scales and helps us determine how well local species

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Bewick’s Wren

are doing. This is especially important in developing plans for conservation and recovery. Furthermore, school programs at the banding station educate elementary kids about bird biology and conservation every fall, making VLBO a great resource for educating the next generation and inspiring young ornithologists! Through this event we encourage participants to fundraise for VLBO so that the research can continue and expand.

 

This year, in addition to the traditional Big Day and Little Big Day, we will be hosting a Novice Big Day event, designed for beginners who aren’t quite ready to bird all day long.

Count Options:

  • Big Day: This is an all day/night hike or bike extravaganza for keen birders. There are usually a handful of groups that participate in this endeavor. You can join an existing group of form your own. The groups will start sometime after midnight and go until they cannot bird anymore (~22 hours) and is non-motorized (no vehicle transportation during the count, participants are allowed to be dropped off and picked up at the end of the day).
  • Little Big Day: This option is an 8-hour count that starts with the dawn chorus around 4:00 am until around noon. Choose your own birding location. Non-motorized birding is encouraged or, if you are driving, at least staying within a localized area.
  • Novice Big Day: This is a 5-hour count designed especially for novice individual birders and families, ages 10 and up. The group will be led by experienced birders and transportation to various birding hotspots in the South Okanagan will be shared by carpool. The day will start at noon and end at 5:00 pm. Participants will be eligible for unique prizes afterwards. This event will be preceded by an introductory birding workshop which will act as a primer for the birdathon. participants are welcome to attend this workshop by registering with the Meadowlark Nature Festival.

All participants are encouraged to fundraise for the Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory leading up to this event through the Great Canadian Birdathon Website. We ask that all participants raise a minimum of $30 (either through a personal donation or pledges) which mostly covers the cost of the Birdathon t-shirts sent out by Bird Studies Canada, if you choose to receive one.

The Count-Up: Participants are welcome to attend the Count-Up Brunch to compare lists, share stories and hand out awards on the morning of May 23rd. In addition, all participants that register and help fundraise will be invited to VLBO for a personal tour and demonstration at the banding station later in 2017. The count up will be held at the Cannings residence. More details to follow.

How to register for this event:

  1. Go to the Great Canadian Birdathon website to register and join our fundraising team called “Emusingly Hawkward” at:

The Great Canadian Birdathon Homepage

Here you can register as an individual or a couple/family as part of our team. If you register early enough, you can receive a birdathon t-shirt to wear for the Big Day (with donation). If you want to start your own team, please make sure to select “Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory” from the drop down list as the recipient organization of your fundraising. Now you can start fundraising! Direct all interested donors to this website. You can also print pledge forms and collect donations in person and then enter the pledges in to the site manually. Donations are eligible for a tax receipt from Bird Studies Canada. The website will tally donations made in your name and also show our team total.

Our team page can be accessed directly at: http://birdscanada.kintera.org/birdathon/emusinglyhawkward

  1. Once you have completed Step 1, please send the following information to vlboinformation@gmail.com:
    1. Your name(s)
    2. The name of the team you’ve joined or started
    3. Your email address/phone number
    4. The count option you will participate in
    5. Where you are from and if you have your own vehicle

Accommodations and Travel Arrangements:
If you require any field gear like binos, or need a place to pitch a tent (or if you’re lucky maybe a spare room), please let us know and we will try our best to accommodate your needs. We are looking into having transportation options available but space will be limited. Please direct any inquiries to vlboinformation@gmail.com.

Please continue to check out our website at https://vlbo.wordpress.com/ as we update information about the event and PRIZES!

Thanks to the Volunteers!

December 2, 2016

We at Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory (VLBO) would like to take the time to thank all the dedicated volunteers for the time and work they’ve put in this year to make this banding season a success and to contribute to the sustainability of the station and our ongoing research as a whole. We had volunteers participate in various capacities and events throughout the year and we owe much gratitude to everyone who helped out. From those who participated in the Great Canadian Birdathon, particularly the youth teams who managed to raise a significant amount, and the people who helped with equipment set up and take down at the banding station, the individuals who assisted with the organization of events such as the School Programs and Open House, to those who contributed their time to help with banding itself which involved some very early mornings and late nights – thank you!

The year 2016 was a very productive one for VLBO, and arguably one of our most successful, with regard to banding. We banded 2086 birds this season which is the third highest number on record, of 62 species. Furthermore, we banded record numbers of birds for the months of August and October. It was also another successful year for the Nature Canada funded school programs which saw 10 school groups of ecstatic kids in grades 3-5 visit the banding station to witness banding firsthand and learn all about bird migration and adaptation.

The Baillie Birdathon fundraiser event held in May, which provides a significant portion of VLBO’s funding each year, was also a notable accomplishment, both in terms of participation and funds raised. Several of the youth birders took great initiative with fundraising and we also had a few brand new and novice birders join us on our Big Day. All in all, more funds were raised than in recent years and a good deal of interest was generated.

VLBO would not be operational without your support. Many thanks to all and we hope to see you again next year!

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Week 11, 2016: The season wraps up

October 26, 2016

The fall banding season is officially over at VLBO, and after what has been a phenomenal season for environmental conditions, the bad weather finally caught up with us during the last week (Oct. 10-15).  With banding hours limited due to rain and high winds, it’s not surprising that banding numbers were below the average for the first time this year; however, the number of species banded was above average due to some good, last minute birds. For the week we banded 57 birds of 17 species, recaptured 30 birds of 10 species and netted an additional 4 birds of 1 species. New banded species for the year were Sharp-shinned Hawk, Pacific Wren, Steller’s Jay (3rd banding record) and Palm Warbler (2nd banding record). Other banding highlights were another Swamp Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow. The most abundant species of the week were Ruby-crowned Kinglet (13), Song Sparrow (8), Dark-eyed Junco (6) and American Goldfinch (6). After several weeks with good numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers, they finally seem to have completed their passage through the region, with only 1 banded this week.

Saw-whet Owl banding was cancelled for 4 of the 6 nights due to poor weather and the remaining 2 nights had an almost full moon with no clouds which meant almost no owls.

Despite the poor week, the 241 birds banded in October is a new record high for the month. The 2086 birds banded for the season is our 3rd highest banding total, missing second place (in 2015) by only 9 birds. Stay tuned for a complete season summary!

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An AHY (after hatch year) male Sharp-shinned Hawk. After witnessing several of these escaping from our nets, we finally caught one on the 2nd last day of the season.

Here are the banding totals for the week and the season ( ).

California Quail-4 netted (16 netted)

Sharp-shinned Hawk-1 (1)

Cooper’s Hawk-0 (1)(9th banding record)
Virginia Rail-0 (3)
Northern Saw-whet Owl-2 (28)
Rufous Hummingbird-0 (2)
Calliope Hummingbird -0 (3)(7th-9th banding records, new season high)
Belted Kingfisher-0 (5)(new season record)
Red-naped Sapsucker-0 (2)
Downy Woodpecker-0 (5)
Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker-0 (5)
Western Wood-pewee-0 (16)
Willow Flycatcher-0 (121)
Alder Flycatcher-0 (1)(1st banding record!!!)
Least Flycatcher-0 (1)
Dusky Flycatcher-0 (7)
Gray Flycatcher-0 (1) (9th banding record)
Pacific-slope Flycatcher-0 (3)(new season high)
Eastern Kingbird-0 (1)
Cassin’s Vireo-0 (3)
Warbling Vireo-0 (7)
Red-eyed Vireo-0 (3)

Steller’s Jay-1 (1)(3rd banding record)

Black-capped Chickadee-3 (17)
Bewick’s Wren-0 (8)(new season high)
House Wren-0 (3)

Pacific Wren-2 (2)

Marsh Wren-1 (45)
Golden-crowned Kinglet-0 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-13 (67)
Veery-0 (32)
Swainson’s Thrush-0 (14)
American Robin-0 (9)( new season high)
Gray Catbird-0 (196)
Cedar Waxwing-0 (33)
Orange-crowned Warbler-0 (175)
Tennessee Warbler-0 (3)
Nashville Warbler-0 (3)
Yellow Warbler-0 (129)
Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler-1 (98)

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler-0 (53)

Yellow-rumped (unidentified) Warbler-0 (83)

(Western) Palm Warbler-1 (1)(2nd banding record)

Northern Waterthrush-0 (19)
MacGillivray’s Warbler-0 (12)
Common Yellowthroat-2 (262)(new season high)
Wilson’s Warbler-0 (42)
Yellow-breasted Chat-0 (8)(new season high)
Western Tanager-0 (11)
Spotted Towhee-1 (15)
Chipping Sparrow-0 (3)
Savannah Sparrow-0 (5)

Fox Sparrow-0 (1)

Song Sparrow-8 (240)(new season record)
Lincoln’s Sparrow-5 (172)

Swamp Sparrow-1 (4)

White-throated Sparrow-1 (2)

(Gambel’s) White-crowned Sparrow-0 (32)

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco-6 (21)

Dark-eyed (Unidentified) Junco-2 (2)

Black-headed Grosbeak-0 (7)
Lazuli Bunting-0 (7)
Red-winged Blackbird-0 (1)
Bullock’s Oriole-0 (1)
Cassin’s Finch-0 (3)(5th-7th banding records; new season high))
American Goldfinch-6 (24)

Total-57 (2086) birds of 17 (62) species banded, 4 (16) birds of 1 species netted, plus 30 (513) recaptures of 10 (32)(new record high) species.

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View over the marsh at the north end of Vaseux Lake from the net lane trail.

 

 

 

Week 10, 2016: A landmark week in October

October 16, 2016

Week 10 of the banding season (Oct. 3 – 9) ended last Sunday and it was a week of contrasts. We had our second biggest October day ever with 41 banded and our two slowest days of the year with 7 and 11 birds banded. In the end it was our highest week 10 banding total ever despite the number of species banded being below the average, again. For the week we banded 131 birds of 16 species and recaptured 33 birds of 11 species. Although bird activity at the station is undoubtedly dropping off, the numbers are still quite high for October which has seen really dramatic declines in past years. No new species for the year were banded but the highlights were 2 Swamp Sparrows and a Nashville Warbler. Interestingly this is the 3rd time we’ve banded a Nashville Warbler in this week so there appears to be pattern of late birds at this time. Thanks so some late individuals, likely from late broods, we broke the station record for number of Common Yellowthroats banded this week with 260 banded for the season! The most abundant species of the week were Ruby-crowned Kinglet (36), Yellow-rumped Warbler (29), Dark-eyed Junco (12) and Song Sparrow (11). Also of interest was a Barn Owl that was seen on the daily census and also heard the previous evening during the owl banding.

As well, only 8 new Northern Saw-whet owls were banded this week.

The school programs wrapped up with three different groups visiting the station through the week. Overall it was a very successful program with all of the participating kids having been able to see birds getting banded.

Kids watch Doug band our 3rd Virginia Rail of the season during the school program.

Here are the banding totals for the week and the season ( ).

California Quail-0 netted (12 netted)
Cooper’s Hawk-0 (1)(9th banding record)
Virginia Rail-1 (3)
Northern Saw-whet Owl-8 (26)
Rufous Hummingbird-0 (2)
Calliope Hummingbird -0 (3)(7th-9th banding records, new season high)
Belted Kingfisher-0 (5)(new season record)
Red-naped Sapsucker-0 (2)
Downy Woodpecker-1 (5)
Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker-0 (5)
Western Wood-pewee-0 (16)
Willow Flycatcher-0 (121)
Alder Flycatcher-0 (1)(1st banding record!!!)
Least Flycatcher-0 (1)
Dusky Flycatcher-0 (7)
Gray Flycatcher-0 (1) (9th banding record)
Pacific-slope Flycatcher-0 (3)(new season high)
Eastern Kingbird-0 (1)
Cassin’s Vireo-0 (3)
Warbling Vireo-0 (7)
Red-eyed Vireo-0 (3)
Black-capped Chickadee-0 (14)
Bewick’s Wren-0 (8)(new season high)
House Wren-0 (3)
Marsh Wren-6 (44)
Golden-crowned Kinglet-0 (1)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-36 (54)
Veery-0 (32)
Swainson’s Thrush-0 (14)
American Robin-1 (9)( new season high)
Gray Catbird-0 (196)
Cedar Waxwing-0 (33)
Orange-crowned Warbler-8 (175)
Tennessee Warbler-0 (3)
Nashville Warbler-1 (3)
Yellow Warbler-0 (129)
Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler-10 (97)

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler-6 (53)

Yellow-rumped (unidentified) Warbler-13 (83)
Northern Waterthrush-0 (19)
MacGillivray’s Warbler-0 (12)
Common Yellowthroat-4 (260)(new season high)
Wilson’s Warbler-1 (42)
Yellow-breasted Chat-0 (8)(new season high)
Western Tanager-0 (11)
Spotted Towhee-0 (14)
Chipping Sparrow-0 (3)
Savannah Sparrow-0 (5)

Fox Sparrow-0 (1)

Song Sparrow-11 (232)(new season record)
Lincoln’s Sparrow-9 (167)

Swamp Sparrow-2 (3)

White-throated Sparrow-0 (1)

(Gambel’s) White-crowned Sparrow-1 (32)

Dark-eyed (Oregon) Junco-12 (15)

Black-headed Grosbeak-0 (7)
Lazuli Bunting-0 (7)
Red-winged Blackbird-0 (1)
Bullock’s Oriole-0 (1)
Cassin’s Finch-0 (3)(5th-7th banding records; new season high))
American Goldfinch-0 (18)

Total-131 (2029) birds of 16 (58) species banded, 0 (12) birds of 1 species netted, plus 33 (483) recaptures of 11 (31) species

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Sumac along the census trail in full fall colours.