[mou] Red Knot banding schemes
Robert_Russell at fws.gov
Robert_Russell at fws.gov
Thu Jul 26 14:15:56 CDT 2007
Since a few Red Knots will be winging their way southward in the next few
weeks through the western Great Lakes I thought this note from Jean Iron of
the Ontario Field Ornithologists was pertinent. Keep your eyes out for
flagged birds for this declining species and report all western Great Lakes
sightings to me and I'll forward them to the proper researchers. Bob
"I am reporting for Jean Iron who is surveying Red Knots and other
shorebirds at the Mingan Archipelago (islands) on the north shore of the
Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec. Jean and Gerry Binsfeld are with Mark Peck
of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). Mark is part of an international team
researching Red Knots. Yves Aubry of the Canadian Wildlife Service (Quebec
Region) is the project supervisor. The surveyors are living in
Havre-Saint-Pierre, which is 150 km before the end of the road along
Quebec's north shore. The Mingan Archipelago is about 870 km (540 mi)
northeast of Quebec City. The archipelago consists of about 1000 coastal
islands, some quite large where the knot surveyors are working. This is the
region that John James Audubon called Labrador when he visited and
collected birds in 1833. However, Audubon never visited the current
Labrador, which is now the mainland portion of the province of Newfoundland
and Labrador, that became part of Canada in 1949. The Mingan Archipelago is
a National Park Reserve administered by Parks Canada. The vegetation is
boreal and subarctic. The shorebird habitat isn't the usual tidal mudflats.
At low tide the flat limestone bedrock on the large islands is exposed
creating many thousands of tidal pools full of invertebrates and sea life.
This is where the Red Knots and shorebirds feed.
RED KNOTS: 1500 knots seen yesterday, 24 July 2007. This is a major staging
area. 1500 knots is about 7% of the population in eastern North America.
All adults (presumably females) to date are in worn and faded alternate
plumage. They are beginning to molt indicated by incoming pin feathers seen
on birds in the hand. The breeding grounds of knots in the Canadian Arctic
is known in the broad sense, but the exact origins of the Quebec migrants
is not known. The adult males and growing juveniles are still on the
breeding grounds. The surveyors are looking for leg flags indicating where
the birds were banded. So far they've found birds banded in Chile (red)
Argentina (orange), Brazil (blue), USA - Florida (lime green), Delaware Bay
(dark green), and Canada (white). In the nets they had a knot banded in
Argentina and another banded last spring on Delaware Bay, USA. So far they
have spotted colour flagged knots from Brazil and one marked this spring at
Other Shorebirds: Hudsonian Godwits, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstones,
Black-bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers,
Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, White-rumped Sandpipers,
Sanderlings, Short-billed Dowitchers (subspecies griseus that breeds in
Quebec and Labrador). All migrant shorebirds are adults that recently
departed the nesting grounds. They feed at the tide edge among the seaweed.
There are no mudflats. When the tide goes out it exposes flat limestone
(platiers in French) pools covered with seaweed and invertebrates.
Other Bird Sightings: On Sunday their day off, Charles Kavanagh, Chief of
Conservation, Parks Canada took the surveyors to the seabird nesting
islands where they saw about 300 pairs Atlantic Puffins, about 100
Razorbills and a colony of Black-legged Kittiwakes. Other birds seen were
Arctic Terns, Northern Gannets, Black Guillemots, Northern Fulmars,
Parasitic Jaegers, Red-throated Loons nest on ponds in peat fens just
outside Havre-Saint-Pierre, Gray Jay pair with dark juveniles (no bands
Dan), Boreal Chickadee with young, Blackpoll Warblers, Fox Sparrow,
Lincoln's Sparrow, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Pine Siskins.
Boreal Owls and Saw-whet Owls nest boxes.
Miscellaneous: There are no Red Squirrels on the islands. This is very
important in preserving the original ecology of the islands. Red Squirrels
are nest predators. The area is excellent for whale watching and seals.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This is a cooperative project headed by Yves Aubry,
Biologist, Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and Alan Baker, Head of
Department of Natural History, Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. It is
funded by World Wildlife Fund, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Canadian
Wildlife Service. Parks Canada provides transportation to the islands and
Six Shorebird Surveyors are: Yves Aubry (CWS), Mark Peck (ROM), Christophe
Buidin, President of Club d'ornithologie de la Cote-Nord (under contract to
CWS), Yann Rochepault, Directeur of Club d'ornithologie de la Cote-Nord
(under contract to CWS). Gerry Binsfeld*, volunteer from Ontario. Jean
Iron*, volunteer from Ontario. *Note: Gerry and Jean speak French and they
love shorebirds, which is why Mark Peck recruited them.
People supporting the surveys are: Charles Kavanagh, Chief of Conservation,
Parks Canada. Yann Boudreau, Park Warden, Parks Canada who assisted with
the banding on four nights. Harold Rochaud, Capitaine of Le Cartier, Parks
Jean reports the outstanding hospitality of the people along Quebec's North
For more information http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/qc/mingan/index_e.asp
Minden and Toronto ON
jeaniron at sympatico.ca
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