Vancouver Avian Research Centre

.....Research - Conservation - Education

October 2010

We have just finished compiling data for the 2010 season (Apr 1st – Oct 31st) at Colony Farm. 

A total of 6,213 new birds were banded of 69 species taking the total of species banded at Colony Farm since spring of 2009 to 78. In addition 1,302 significant retraps were processed with some very interesting returns from birds banded in 2009. It never ceases to amaze me how birds can overwinter in the Neotropics and navigate back not just to south-western BC or the lower mainland or even to Colony Farm but that they can find their way back to the exact location they were previously. One Savannah Sparrow banded on the 8th August 2009 was retrapped on the 5th August 2010 in the same net!  

New species banded for Colony Farm included Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata), Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri), Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina), European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla), Northern Waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis), Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius), House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) and Long-eared Owl (Asio otus

Other birds of interest recorded at VARC censuses and surveys included Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens), Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens), Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida) and Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus). 

We completed 10,502 net hours which was amazing and thanks to the many dedicated VARC volunteers who made this massive effort possible. 

Special thanks to Kerry Kenwood, Debbie Wheeler and Penny Longman for all their help and patience with the data analysis – it’s nice having volunteers with PhDs! 

We have now switched to Burnaby Lake for the winter banding program where we are conducting net extraction training over the winter months ahead of spring migration when we will open the Colony Farm station for the 2011 season. We have big plans to further evolve the banding program next year!

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