Bird Count Reports
Saskatoon Spring Migration Bird Count
May 29-30, 2010
by Craig Salisbury
Due to a forecast of cool, rainy weather for May 29, count participants were given the option of counting on Sunday, May 30. Seven teams (4 rural and 3 urban) counted on Saturday, and 10 teams (5 rural and 5 urban) counted on Sunday. One team (city East) counted the morning of Saturday and afternoon/evening of Sunday. The weather on Saturday was cool (4-6ºC), windy (gusting to 50 kilometres per hour), and wet (25 mm of rain). Sunday’s weather was slightly better, with a high of 10ºC, comparable winds, and scattered showers.
Many rural teams reported that they could not reach all of their usual count locations as some roads were impassable, and in several cases counting activities were delayed or terminated when vehicles became stuck. Those counting within the city limits reported muddy trails and flooded terrain.
Over the two days, 42 volunteers spent a total of 166 hours identifying 163 species, down from the long-term average of 175, and only 3 more than the record low 160 species reported in 2004 (data since 1987). The total number of individual birds counted (24,523) was significantly lower than the average of 32,791, and was the lowest number since 2002 when only 22,961 birds were counted. The most abundant species seen were Stilt Sandpiper (1110), Red-winged Blackbird (1097), Tree Swallow (1080), Black Tern (1049), and Franklin’s Gull (1042). A few common species were identified in record numbers, including American Robin (822), Common Grackle (273), House Finch (156), and Common Raven (67). Of the 25 species of wood warblers that have been identified in the Saskatoon area in spring, only 11 were reported, and seven of those species were represented by 4 or fewer individuals. Five hundred and thirty-seven Yellow Warblers were counted, compared to 101 of all other warblers combined. Numbers were reduced for most shorebird species, due in part to limited access of teams to some sloughs. Only four species exceeded the long-term averages: Sanderling (235), Killdeer (166), Spotted Sandpiper (52), and Wilson’s Snipe (34).
Despite the poor count conditions, a few fortunate observers reported some rare species, including Wood Duck, Cinnamon Teal, Prairie Falcon, Dunlin, Eurasian Collared Dove, Pileated Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Northern Rough-winged Swallow.
For those who might be interested, the data was summarized as two separate counts. On Saturday, 8 teams consisting of 18 participants identified 148 species in 78 party hours. On Sunday, 11 teams consisting of 25 participants identified 135 species in 88 party hours.
You can download the complete tabulated report below:
Saskatoon Nature Society
Connecting People and Nature
Saskatoon Nature Society
Box 448, RPO University
Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8