Undoubtedly, the 2011 edition of our program was our most action-packed and challenging to date
The third consecutive spring/summer field season came to an end with this year’s final session of the Monitoring Avian Productivity & Survivorship (MAPS) program on August 6, 2011. The three years of MAPS data point to a marked reduction in abundance of many landbird species in forest habitats of the region. The pattern is particularly evident at our Maplewood Bog station near Devil Lake, where season capture totals have dropped from 197 individuals in 2009 to just 89 in 2011. The apparent declines are concurrent at all three stations, which are spatially disjunctive and representative of a broad spectrum of landscape conditions. It is likely that the current negative trend will be short-lived and a product of natural population shifts but continued monitoring for at least two more years is needed to strengthen analysis and assess cause and effect.
In 2010 we completed basic inventories of Prairie Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush populations in the study area, primarily in Frontenac Provincial Park. This year we repeated these exercises and expanded area coverage to begin monitoring year-to-year variation in population size and breeding status. We also began a more in-depth assessment of Prairie Warblers in the area to examine breeding status, survivorship and breeding ecology. These studies were very productive and will be fully explored in the year-end report later this year.
Weather in May was extremely wet, which created exceptionally fertile conditions for black flies and mosquitos. Endlessly attended by the biting swarms, our studies carried us by foot and by canoe over ridges and valleys, to lakes, bogs, barrens and creeks throughout the study area – over 250km in all. Many notable finds were made, which included active nests of Red-headed Woodpecker, Cerulean Warbler, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Prairie Warbler. Also notable were records of eight at-risk bird species as well as locally significant observations of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Five-lined Skink, Sedge Wren, Sandhill Crane and Red-bellied Woodpecker, to name a few.
Our second annual Frontenac Biothon fundraiser was a tremendous success thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and volunteer naturalists. We searched high and low for species during a 24-hour period on June 11-12 in Frontenac Provincial Park. We surpassed our 2010 total of 441 with a final tally of 468. In the end, we raised some important funds for the project, produced an impressive array of records and had a memorable weekend to boot!
Frontenac Bird Studies exists through the support of many individuals and organizations. The Migration Research Foundation thanks the following for their contribution to FBS in 2011!
The John Hackney Foundation for the Noosphere
Frontenac Biothon sponsors
FBS MAPS Assistant
Julia Marko Dunn
Bird Studies Canada
Project Lead, Frontenac Bird Studies
Migration Research Foundation