Field Fun Friday

One great benefit to using ARUs to study songbirds is that you can retrieve the data at a convenient time. Last week I went out the field one last time to collect 38 ARUs that I left out to sample the last few weeks of Olive-sided Flycatcher activity in bogs and burns around Fort Providence, NWT. When I last saw these birds in July, some of them had empty nests that were predated, some had hatchlings, some had fledglings and some had seemingly already left. When I analyze these data later, I may be able to hear when they actually left their territories to start their migration down south.

This was the first time I ever visited the boreal forest in the fall and a couple of things became apparent to me very quickly:

1) Despite often being conifer dominated in lowland areas, boreal bogs have beautiful fall colours! Tamaracks pepper the forest with golden hues and patches of aspens and deciduous shrubs add more variation of yellows, oranges and reds.

2) Revisiting and walking around boreal forest where I spent many hours in during the busy bird breeding season makes me realize how SILENT it is in the fall when everyone is gone. It feels like walking around empty circus grounds the day after a big weekend show… there is evidence of a party and the noise is almost ringing in your ears, but no one is there. Except the ravens and gray jays, those die hard resident partiers.

-Photos and post by Emily Upham-Mills

Field Fun Friday


Second year male in 2015 with a light, indistinct necklace.

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The same male captured in 2016, now an after second year male with a bold, distinct necklace.

During the breeding season, male songbirds often have brightly coloured and contrasting feather patterns to attract females. These patterns often become more pronounced and defined in older adult males. One of the distinguishing features of the Canada Warbler is the adult male’s dark necklaced feather pattern, which gets darker and more distinct after their second year. Not only did our banded male from 2015 return to the same breeding location, but he came back in 2016 sporting a beautifully developed necklace, and was accompanied by a nesting female! Looks like a year abroad did wonders for this warbler’s appeal. Post and photos by Anjolene Hunt.

Field Fun Friday

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It’s always fun to change things up and work with a new species or in a new habitat. Songbird researcher Anjolene Hunt was happy to help Jesse Watson, Frank Pouw, and Walter the owl carry out Broad-winged hawk capture and transmitter attachment as part of the Migratory Connectivity Project, a collaborative effort between the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the University of Alberta. Photos and post by Anjolene Hunt.