Last Mountain Bird Observatory

Located in Last Mountain Regional Park
on Last Mountain Lake
(between Saskatoon and Regina, 15 km west of Govan)

The station is open May 8-31
and in August and September
from 9am to 1pm daily

Photo credit: Nature Saskatchewan

 

The facility is open during the spring and fall migrations (May, August and September), and encourages visitors to the site and volunteers to assist in the monitoring program. The public has the rare opportunity to see many bird species up close, to observe catching, handling and banding techniques, and to learn about our natural heritage. The observatory has available a wide range of camping and recreational facilities for visitors, and comfortable on-site facilities for volunteers.

 

Monitoring and Banding

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What we are learning through migration monitoring

Last Mountain Bird Observatory (LMBO) is the only monitoring station in the province and, in 1992, joined the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network (CMMN). The CMMN is comprised of over 25 observatories across Canada under the umbrella of Bird Studies Canada, and has the objective to monitor all landbird species. The emphasis is on priority species that are not being adequately monitored by other programs.

LMBO began in the fall of 1989 with a modest banding program, and since 1990 has undertaken intensive landbird migration monitoring. Information gathered provides us with insights into population trends, longevity and movements of birds. On average, 3400 birds of 76 species are banded annually, and since 1990 LMBO has banded 70,000 birds of 115 species. The total number of birds moving through the area is much higher since banding occurs in only a small section. The five most abundant species banded are: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Clay-colored Sparrow, Alder Flycatcher, and Least Flycatcher. The majority of the migrating songbirds are neotropical migrants (birds breeding in northern latitudes of the Americas and wintering in the tropics).

The birds are monitored through the use of a daily census and systematic use of mist nets (finely woven nets strung between poles along hedgerows). Birds are removed from the nets and tagged with uniquely numbered bands. Data on species, age and sex is also recorded, and all information is forwarded to the Bird Banding Office in Ottawa.

For information on the Spring and Fall migrations, read the following reports:

2014 Fall Migration Report 

2014 Spring Migration Report

Migratory songbird populations are monitored, as many species are in serious decline due to loss of breeding and wintering habitat. LMBO, located about 100 km south of the boreal forest, is ideally situated to capture data on forest migrants. Nearly 50% of North America's bird species (about 327 species) rely on the boreal forest at some point in their life cycle, with 3 billion of its landbirds (30%), 26 million of its waterfowl (40%), and 7 million of its shorebirds (30%) nesting in the boreal region. Up to 5 billion birds – adults and their young – migrate south from the boreal each fall. Due to many impacts on the North American boreal forest, its future is uncertain: about 30% of the boreal has been allocated for industrial uses (logging, oil and gas, mining and hydroelectric dams); timber companies in Canada cut ~2.5 million acres of timber per year which in some areas is equal to rates in tropical rainforests. Many of North America's most rapidly declining birds are among those most reliant on the boreal forest for their survival; over 40 landbird species that breed in the boreal are in decline.

Educational Programming

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Please feel free to stop by LMBO this summer, and take the opportunity to observe bird banding. It is open to all families and the general public. Visiting Information for the Public

In May, you can participate in the Baillie Birdathon, a program of Bird Studies Canada. This is part of our campaign to raise funds for the observatory and, at the same time, to gain knowledge and have a great time with birding experts. All ages and levels of expertise can participate!                                             

Photo credit: Gary Houston

Individuals and small groups are encouraged to stop by the LMBO; however, larger groups of more than a few people are encouraged to contact the Nature Saskatchewan office to arrange a group visit. Information for Guides/Scouts

To arrange a visit, please contact our office at lweekes@naturesask.ca or 306-780-9481.

 

 

 

 

 

LMBO Location

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Map of Last Mountain Regional Park
Map of LMBO
 

Last Mountain Bird Observatory is located in Last Mountain Regional Park (LMRP) on the northeast shore of Last Mountain Lake, near the town of Govan. To find LMBO, turn west 5 km north of Govan at the sign for Last Mountain Regional Park, and follow the gravel road for 15 km to the LMRP gate. Once through the park gate, follow the road to the end, and LMBO is on your left. 

There is no cost to participate in our programming at LMBO. However, there is an entry fee to LMRP. To make camping or other arrangements related to the Park, please directly contact LMRP. If a group plans to visit LMRP outside the hours for which Nature Saskatchewan is providing programming, the group and its leaders are on their own regarding activities.

 

LMBO Brochure