Archives for 2019

Last Mountain Bird Observatory is open for the season and migration is in full swing!

We set up our mist nets in Last Mountain Regional Park on Sunday May 5, to kick of the 28th consecutive spring. On our opening day we caught a variety of birds. The most common were Myrtle Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow. As our week wore on, we caught an increasing diversity of birds! Some of our highlights include Palm Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.


Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Photo credit: Jordan Rustad


During our second week, we caught mostly thrushes and sparrows. We caught Swainson’s Thrush, Gray-cheeked Thrush, and Hermit Thrush. The majority of sparrows we caught were White-throated Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrow, but we also had Harris Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Clay-coloured Sparrow, and Chipping Sparrow!


Gray-cheeked Thrush. Photo credit: Jordan Rustad


We’ve also been catching a number of American Robins and Tree Swallows that are breeding in the park! We even caught a surprise Brown Creeper! We don’t see very many of these guys, and they don’t get caught in the net very often. We also saw our first Rose-breasted Grosbeak of the season. It was a gorgeous male, and a school group that were visiting us got to hear it sing.

There are also more than just songbirds moving through. We have seen many ducks and grebes show up. I personally added a lifer to my list. I’ve been trying to see White-winged Scoters for the past three years, but they only pass through infrequently and I was never at the station when they were. This year I finally conquered my nemesis bird and saw three scoters out on the lake.

To add to the excitement of opening week, the station was also host to a World Migratory Bird Day event, and we had tons of great groups visit our station and tour the mist nets (90 participants). Not only did the groups get to watch birds being banded and learn about the process, but they even got banded themselves.



Shelly Fisher, volunteer bander, releasing a banded bird on World Migratory Bird Day. Photo credit: Rebecca Magnus


Local Girl Guide group showing off their bands. Photo credit: Rebecca Magnus


Our first week has had some great highlights, and we’re looking forward to the next birds to come. May the flocks be with you!

Jordan Rustad

Read more news »