5 Dec: A Peregrine Falcon has been seen around the office buildings ringing Fairlane Town Center, specifically the Fairlane Plaza South building. One spent the winter around here last year.
26 Nov: The unseasonably warm weather the past week seems to have dispersed the Fox Sparrows, as none have been seen for several days. White-throated Sparrows are still around in reduced numbers. A survey today found a Swamp Sparrow, Winter Wren, and Golden-crowned Kinglet.
12 Nov: A Great Egret was along the Rouge River channel today, a new late date for the city.
9 Nov: No kinglets were located on the survey today, but Fox Sparrows were still present. At the sunflower fields next to Ford World Headquarters, at Michigan and Mercury Drive, there was a Nashville Warbler in the tree line. This ties the late date, which, coincidentally, was set in 2003 at the sunflower field at Southfield and Hubbard.
8 Nov: Some migrants continue in the area, including four Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a White-crowned Sparrow, and eight Fox Sparrows.
5 Nov: More Purple Finches, an Eastern Towhee, two lingering Ruby-crowned Kinglets among good numbers of Golden-crowns, and a White-crowned Sparrow were among the migrants still being found. A very late Swainson’s Thrush was banded in east Dearborn.
4 Nov: Purple Finches were seen today, and sparrows included American Tree, Field, Fox (8), Song, Swamp, and White-throated.
1 Nov: Fewer White-throated Sparrows around today, but a slight up-tick in juncos. Still both species of kinglets in the area, and eight Hermit Thrushes were counted on the survey. This has been a stellar year for Fox Sparrows, and today our count included 13 on the survey, one or two near the banding area, and two banded. And the first American Tree Sparrows arrived here today; the mean arrival date is Oct 25.
31 Oct: Too windy for banding today, but the survey produced some good birds. A House Wren set a new late date, superceding the record set five days ago. Two Orange-crowned Warblers and a Nashville Warbler were foraging in a crowd that included two Eastern Towhees, lots of Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a few Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Among the many White-throated Sparrows were six Fox Sparrows, three White-crowned Sparrows, two Field Sparrows, and a Lincoln’s Sparrow.
30 Oct: There are still good numbers of kinglets around, with Ruby-crowned being more numerous. Juncoes are very abundant, with 22 being banded today. A Swainson’s Thrush captured today was a new late date, but it was a recapture of a bird that had hit a window on October 13 and cracked its bill. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was in the banding area, and there was a later report of one in east Dearborn.
29 Oct: Despite the wind there were some good birds found on the survey, including a Blue-headed Vireo, several Chipping Sparrows, a Bufflehead on the lake, and a Black-throated Blue Warbler, which was a new late fall date.
26 Oct: There are still quite a few sparrows around, especially Fox Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows. A House Wren banded today is a new late date.
20 Oct: A large infusion of sparrows arrived last night. The majority banded were Song Sparrows, but there was a notable increase in White-throated Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows as well. Among the White-crowned Sparrows was our second palish-lored bird of the season; this bird was also very short-winged and had a small, orange-pink bill, suggestive of a far western race, although that seems unlikely. Two Chipping Sparrows were the first we’ve seen in awhile.
A very bright Palm Warbler was banded, not bright enough to be a “Yellow” Palm Warbler, but far brighter than the dull “Western” race (there are, apparently, intergrades). Our second Blue-headed Vireo of the season was banded; I’ve only had one other year where I have caught two. Hermit Thrushes were around in good numbers two days ago, but have thinned out considerably. And finally, although not an uncommon species, a male Eastern Bluebird was a new species for RRBO, bringing our total to 139 species. In addition to being beautiful to look at, he charmed us all by singing softly while I was banding him and taking photos!
19 Oct: A Gray Catbird and a Field Sparrow were at one of the Dearborn sunflower fields today.
18 Oct: A Blue-headed Vireo was banded today, the first of the season. Three Orange-crowned Warblers were also banded.
16 Oct: After a rain delay beyond our scheduled hiatus, RRBO was back banding yesterday. We’ve had a good mix of species. In addition to the expected birds, such as Hermit Thrushes, White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers, both species of kinglets, and the ever-present robins, we have banded over the last two days a number of Nashville Warblers, a Common Yellowthroat, an Orange-crowned Warbler, two Tennessee Warblers, a Black-throated Green Warbler, a House Wren, and an Indigo Bunting. The first Fox Sparrows of the season were banded yesterday. A Palm Warbler and several additional Orange-crowned Warblers were seen near the banding lab yesterday as well.
2 Oct: RRBO will be taking a short hiatus to attend a conference. Back in business on October 11!
29 Sep: Things have been a bit more quiet the last few days. Yesterday, a Peregrine Falcon was seen flying over campus. Today, four American Pipits were amongst a large flock of migrant robins (of which over 1300 were counted around dawn). Our first Orange-crowned Warblers and Lincoln’s Sparrow of the fall were banded today, along with a smattering of other warblers.
On Sunday, October 1, there will be a Detroit Audubon field trip to RRBO, starting at 8 AM, and the public is welcome. It will include a bird walk and, weather permitting, birds from the banding lab will be shown and our research discussed. Greg Norwood and I will be available to answer questions and generally hob-nob if things aren’t too busy. Directions to campus can be found on this page; meet at the Environmental Interpretive Center.
24 Sep: Another clear influx of new migrants, with the first fall Hermit Thrushes and White-crowned Sparrows banded. White-throated Sparrows and Song Sparrows were also more numerous. We banded 14 new Nashville Warblers today, which is a good daily total for this species here.
24 Sep: A Clay-colored Sparrow was banded today, along with a late Canada Warbler.
23 Sep: The first Winter Wren of fall was found on the survey today.
22 Sep: The first Ruby-crowned Kinglets of the season were found today (one banded) and a Blue-winged Warbler was found on the survey. In east Dearborn, two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were the first for the season.
21 Sep: A Dark-eyed Junco was reported from campus, and Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Red-breasted Nuthatch in east Dearborn.
19 Sep: Breezy conditions have meant banding is not as productive, and fewer birds arrived with the strong cold front passage than we expected. Our only new fall arrival lately was today’s Gray-cheeked Thrush.
15 Sep: A much quieter day today, with migrants in small pockets. Swamp Sparrow was a new arrival, and Northern Parula was a highlight of the survey.
14 Sep: A nice day today at the nets, with 86 birds banded. Highlights were the first White-throated Sparrow of the year, and our first Cooper’s Hawk ever (they just don’t “stick” in the type of nets we use). A Mourning Dove was also an unusual catch for us, although hardly an uncommon bird! September 14 is the day that I generally think of as “Philadelphia Vireo” day, and sure enough, four were banded. After a week-long absence, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler made appearances, and we ended up with 27 species of birds banded today. The first Yellow-rumped Warblers of fall were seen on the survey, and in the evening there was a good movement of Chimney Swifts and a small movement of Common Nighthawks as well.
13 Sep: A Connecticut Warbler was found today.
11 Sep: Philadelphia Vireos are moving through right now, and there have been increased numbers of Swainson’s Thrushes and Nashville Warblers.
We banded the rather interesting young Scarlet Tanager at the right last week. Some young females are known to show faint wing bars, but this was a young male (as indicated by the black shoulder feathers), and the wing bars are quite distinct and bold. In the field, it might be mistaken for a Western Tanager, a species only rarely found in Michigan, but other plumage characteristics and measurements confirmed that this is a Scarlet Tanager. You never know what you might learn about birds that you think you understand!
5 Sep: Last night there was a flight of around 300 Common Nighthawks in west Dearborn, while several miles east none were seen. Substantial numbers of migrating nighthawks are becoming more and more rare each year. Today there were far fewer migrants in the area, although there was a noticable increase in the number of Swainson’s Thrushes, and our first Palm Warblers were banded.
2 Sep: The first Philadelphia Vireo of the season was banded today, and there were once again increased numbers of “the usual suspects.”
1 Sep: Much quieter today, with Mourning Warbler being the only new species noted.
30 Aug: New migrants arrived again last night, judging from the new species — Swainson’s Thrush, Blackpoll Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, and Black-and-white Warbler — and how lean banded birds were today compared to yesterday. Once again, American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and Red-eyed Vireo were the most common species.
29 Aug: After the last few days of rain, many more migrants were around today, dominated by American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, and Wilson’s Warbler, along with quite a few Chestnut-sided Warblers. Many Red-eyed Vireos were around also (11 banded), with skinny, scruffy resident birds now joined by sleek, fat migrants. Scarlet Tanager and a Blackburnian Warbler in the nets were a treat, since they are not banded very often due to their usual high haunts.
28 Aug: The first Black-throated Blue Warbler of the season was seen today.
23 Aug: The first Nashville Warbler of the season was seen today.
22 Aug: There was a little influx of migrants, with several Chestnut-sided Warblers and one Black-throated Green Warbler banded today, and a Blackburnian Warbler observed.
20 Aug: American Woodcocks have started migrating.
18 Aug: A Wilson’s Warbler banded today was a new early fall record. American Redstart and Least Flycatcher were new migrants.
17 Aug: It was a vireo kind of day, with a dozen Warbling Vireos banded. The previous high number for the entire fall season is 13, and we are at 16 so far this year. A Tennessee Warbler was also banded. Common Nighthawks have begun their migration.
16 Aug: A migrant Magnolia Warbler banded to day was the first of the season.
15 Aug: The fall banding season began today, with 13 species banded. Migrants were Northern Waterthrush, Canada Warbler, and Cape May Warbler; it was a new early fall date for the Cape May.
26 June: We received report of an interesting recovery of one of our banded birds. A White-throated Sparrow that we banded here as an adult on 6 October 1999 was recaptured on 16 April 2006 at Dunblane Hills Research station, at the base of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, an operation of the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory. This bird is at least seven years old.
1 June: An incredibly late Winter Wren was singing in the floodplain today.
28 May: A late Blue-winged Warbler was one of the few migrants present today.
27 May: A few migrants still hanging around, including Swainson’s Thrush, Blackburnian, Tennessee, and Wilson’s Warblers, and a White-crowned Sparrow.
26 May: No Kentucky Warbler today, but a flyover American Pipit was a very interesting record. There was also a Worm-eating Warbler in the Hickory Meadow in mid-afternoon which was not relocated later. We had another late Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a new late date for Blue-winged Warbler. Flycatchers are becoming more common. Two singing Blackburnian Warblers and a Black-throated Green Warbler are also getting towards the end of their migration window.
25 May: A Kentucky Warbler was found today, singing in the area between the Rose Garden and the Lake. White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and the first Yellow-bellied Flycatcher of the spring were banded today.
24 May: A late female Northern Parula was seen in east Dearborn today. The first Common Nighthawks were widely reported in the region last night.
21 May: Depressed numbers and diversity more reminiscent of early spring today. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet was a record late date. Two Blue-headed Vireos were also getting late. At least 30 White-crowned Sparrows are still present, at a time when they tend to be nearly all gone. White-throated Sparrows, Black-and-white Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Black-throated Green Warblers are all early migrants that are still present.
18 May: Despite last night’s rain and the strong north winds that continue today, there were more birds around. Many of the species that appeared in slightly higher numbers today are still early-season migrants, such as Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, and Black-and-White Warbler. Blackpoll Warblers arrived, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was getting late. A Clay-colored Sparrow was found on the concrete channel of the Rouge River.
17 May: A female Yellow-breasted Chat was banded today. Otherwise it was very quiet.
16 May: A singing male Hooded Warbler was near the Rose Garden gazebo, the traditional Hooded Warbler “hotspot.” A Louisiana Waterthrush was along the lakeside trail.
15 May: Canada Warblers arrived today.
12 May: With the rain and wind, not as much activity. Mourning Warbler is a new arrival.
10 May: New arrivals include Scarlet Tanager, Bay-breasted Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, and Yellow-throated Vireo. Six Cape May Warblers is a good number for this species. One of the Blue-winged Teal made an appearance, and there was a report of an Orchard Oriole.
9 May: Green Herons, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Cape May Warbler arrived today.
8 May: Quite sparrow-y today and yesterday, with increased numbers of White-throated Sparrows yesterday (gone today), White-crowned and Lincoln’s Sparrows. Today the first Eastern Wood-Pewee and Cape May Warbler were seen on campus. There was also a report of a pair of Blue-winged Teals, uncommon on campus.
7 May: An adult Bald Eagle soared over campus today. New arrivals included Red-eyed Vireo and Swainson’s Thrush, although in general it was much quieter than it has been for the last five days or so.
6 May: A Golden-winged Warbler was found today, as well as Great Crested Flycatcher, Indigo Buntings, and two Orange-crowned Warblers.
5 May: A Gray-cheeked Thrush was banded today, first for the season. Also new were Magnolia Warbler and Tennessee Warbler.
4 May: A Hooded Warbler was reported today, along with Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Northern Parula.
3 May: Continued birdy today, with new arrivals including Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Warbling Vireo, and Chestnut-sided Warbler. A White-eyed Vireo was singing right next to the nets, but avoided capture.
2 May: A large influx of migrants produced only a few new species — Blackburnian Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Wood Thrush — but large numbers of many species and increased numbers of most.
1 May: The only new spring arrival today was Northern Waterthrush.
30 Apr: A spate of new arrivals hit town today. The best bird was probably an Orchard Oriole in east Dearborn. Baltimore Orioles were also reported, along with Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Ovenbird, Eastern Kingbird, Gray Catbird, and American Redstart (a new early date). Large numbers of White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-rumped, and Palm Warblers were also found.
27 Apr: A Spotted Sandpiper was a new arrival today, as was Blue-winged Warbler and Orange-crowned Warbler. There was an influx of Palm Warblers, with 7 seen on today’s survey.
25 Apr: The first Nashville Warbler was seen in west Dearborn today.
23 Apr: There was an influx of White-throated Sparrows noted today, and three Blue-headed Vireos were new arrivals. A trio of Pine Warblers was also found, and Blue Jay migration continued, with over 75 seen this morning. Horned Larks have been recorded as flyovers the last two days.
22 Apr: A Least Flycatcher seen today was several days earlier than our earliest spring record, but one was also noted in Ontario. Black-throated Green Warbler was another new arrival on campus, and the first Black-and-white Warbler was in east Dearborn.
21 Apr: Blue Jay movement has started in earnest, with one flock of about 50 heading north being noted. Also four Broad-winged Hawks were seen kettling over campus.
20 Apr: The first House Wren of spring was singing today.
15 Apr: Two Common Loons flew over campus today, and three Hooded Mergansers were on the Rouge River. A Purple Finch was found on the survey, along with the first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Swamp Sparrow.
14 Apr: Winter Wren and Brown Thrasher were new arrivals today.
13 Apr: The first Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Eastern Towhees of spring were seen today. A Pine Warbler was also found on campus.
12 Apr: Field Sparrow and Great Egret on the concrete channel of the Rouge River were new arrivals.
11 Apr: A singing White-crowned Sparrow was in the vicinity of the Organic Garden today; this is 6 days earlier than our previous early spring arrival date. The first Savannah Sparrows and a Wilson’s Snipe were found today along the concrete channel of the Rouge River.
10 Apr: A Vesper Sparrow and Barn Swallows were seen along the concrete channel of the Rouge River.
4 Apr: The first migrant Fox Sparrows of the season were found on campus today.
2 Apr: The first Chipping Sparrow of the season was seen in east Dearborn.
20 Mar: This normally wouldn’t be news, but given the results of our Winter Bird Population Survey (below), a Tufted Titmouse at the feeders is noteworthy.
19 Mar: Golden-crowned Kinglets have been heard in the area.
14 Mar: A Bald Eagle was seen flying over the Rouge River. The first Eastern Phoebe of the season was found today.
12 Mar: The “dirty” Northern Mockingbird is still at the UAW buildling at Dix and Wyoming, near the Ford Rouge plant. A Rusty Blackbird was in the sunflower fields on the south side of Hubbard and Southfield.
10 Mar: A Snow Bunting at Henry Ford Community College was getting late; our late date is March 12.
8 Mar: We tallied 41 species on the 2005-2006 Winter Bird Population Survey, a little better than average, during the mid-December through mid-February survey period. Hooded Merganser was a new species for the WBPS, bringing our 14-year cumulative total to 61 species. For the first time, we counted no Tufted Titmice, when the previous mean per visit (one count day) was four. Hard to say what is going on there. A long-term decline in the related Black-capped Chickadee seems to be reversing. The past four years have seen modest increases on the WBPS, with a jump from 7.1 per visit last year to 11.7 this year reflecting the southward push of this species in the eastern U.S. last fall. Meanwhile, American Crow numbers are not recovering from their plummet beginning in 2003 due to West Nile Virus. The mean number seen per survey period prior to that time was 138.7. The mean the last four years has been 8.5. This is the first year we have recorded American Robins every survey day. They stuck around all winter due to the often mild weather and sparse snow cover, plentiful fruit. Over the survey years, there has been an increasing trend of seeing robins on more and more survey days.
If the end of the WBPS period wasn’t enough of a hint, Common Grackles and Red-winged Blackbirds have arrived, signaling the end of winter and the coming of spring.
20 Feb: Two Turkey Vultures were seen near campus today. This is an early spring arrival date, or may represent birds that have remained in the region over the winter, as some have been reported.
17 Feb: A juvenile Bald Eagle was seen flying north of Ford World Headquarters today. Fox Sparrows have been regular at two Dearborn feeders this winter, including today: one near the TPC Golf Course and the other near Oakwood Hospital.
11 Feb: At least one Northern Flicker has overwintered, as one to three have been recorded regularly on winter surveys. There have been only six sightings of American Crow all winter on campus, all single birds except for one duo. Today’s bird, like the others, was a flyover. Three Golden-crowned Kinglets were found again today.
31 Jan: Three Golden-crowned Kinglets were found on today’s survey, the first since late December. Brown Creepers, and three Red-breasted Nuthatches were also recorded. The Northern Mockingbird was seen again today.
1 Jan: Five new species were added to the Dearborn portion of the Detroit River Christmas Bird Count : Cackling Goose (sunflower fields at Hubbard Drive and Southfield), Northern Pintail, American Coot (both at Ford Rouge plant), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (one in west Dearborn, one in east Dearborn), and Field Sparrow (sunflower fields at Hubbard Drive and Southfield). High counts were set for 21 species!
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