Posted | filed under Weekly Reports.

On May 22 the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory (LSLBO) participated in the Great Canadian Birdathon. The Birdathon is a yearly fundraiser with teams from all across Canada attempting to see as many bird species as possible within 24 hours. Teams collect donations for local bird conservation groups and 75% of donations are returned directly to that group. The remaining 25% of funds goes to Bird Studies Canada, which uses the remainder to support conservation efforts across the country.

Pictured: Team Tanager investigating backyard feeders.

This year the LSLBO has three teams competing with each other in both raising money and seeing the highest number of bird species. “Team Tanager” covers the area around Slave Lake and consists of the bird observatory’s field staff: Robyn Perkins, Laura Tabbakh, and Bronwyn Robinson, plus one of our most supportive members, Wayne Bowles. Bowles recently ‘crossed the floor’ from the second team lead by long-time LSLBO member Ken Orich. Orich’s “Team Thrasher” scours Southern Alberta from the mountains to the grasslands and are the returning champions. This year, we also have a third team of familiar faces: Nicole and Richard Krikun, who ‘retired’ from the LSLBO in 2018 after 10 and 15 years, respectively. They are competing as “Best Laid Plans” and will be poking around in Northern Alberta on May 30.

Although Team Tanager did well for itself on May 22 and found 93 species, Team Thrasher did even better with a whopping 139 species. Team Thrasher is setting a very high bar for “Best Laid Plans” to beat. Although the birdathon is already over for two of our teams, if you would like to donate, you still can by following these links:

Team Tanager

Team Thrasher

Best Laid Plans


Pictured: Adult male American Redstart.

As for what has been happening at the bird observatory over the past week, it has again been very slow. Although many of our breeding species have arrived, we have not seen much active migration. American Redstarts and several other warbler species appear to be moving through the area in low numbers. The high winds of the past week have not helped our capture rates since the nets were often closed for bird safety, but 131 birds were banded.

Be sure to come out for the 24 annual Songbird Festival at the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation this weekend. On Saturday, May 25, you can partake in the Early Bird Pancake Breakfast, guided birding hikes, bird observatory tours, and many fun children’s activities. If you have not done so yet, you can also view the new exhibits at the Boreal Centre that were installed over the winter. Register by Sunday, May 26, at 9:30 AM and you can participate in the 15 annual Bird Run/Walk (5K/10K) down the Trans-Canada Trail.


Species observed (taxonomic order) in the local area by Team Tanager on May 22, 2019:

1.      Canada Goose 34.  Ruby-throated Hummingbird 67.  Tennessee Warbler
2.      American Wigeon 35.  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 68.  Mourning Warbler
3.      Mallard 36.  Downy Woodpecker 69.  Common Yellowthroat
4.      Blue-winged Teal 37.  Hairy Woodpecker 70.  American Redstart
5.      Northern Shoveler 38.  Northern Flicker 71.  Magnolia Warbler
6.      Green-winged Teal 39.  Pileated Woodpecker 72.  Yellow Warbler
7.      Canvasback 40.  Least Flycatcher 73.  ‘Western’ Palm Warbler
8.      Ring-necked Duck 41.  Eastern Phoebe 74.  Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warbler
9.      Great Scaup 42.  Blue-headed Vireo 75.  Canada Warbler
10.  Lesser Scaup 43.  Warbling Vireo 76.  Chipping Sparrow
11.  Surf Scoter 44.  Philadelphia Vireo 77.  Clay-coloured Sparrow
12.  Bufflehead 45.  Red-eyed Vireo 78.  Savannah Sparrow
13.  Common Goldeneye 46.  Blue Jay 79.  LeConte’s Sparrow
14.  Common Merganser 47.  Black-billed Magpie 80.  Song Sparrow
15.  Ruffed Grouse 48.  American Crow 81.  Lincoln’s Sparrow
16.  Common Loon 49.  Common Raven 82.  Swamp Sparrow
17.  Pied-billed Grebe 50.  Tree Swallow 83.  White-throated Sparrow
18.  Horned Grebe 51.  Cliff Swallow 84.  Western Tanager
19.  Red-necked Grebe 52.  Barn Swallow 85.  Rose-breasted Grosbeak
20.  American White Pelican 53.  Black-capped Chickadee 86.  Red-winged Blackbird
21.  Bald Eagle 54.  Red-breasted Nuthatch 87.  Common Grackle
22.  Northern Harrier 55.  White-breasted Nuthatch 88.  Brown-headed Cowbird
23.  Broad-winged Hawk 56.  House Wren 89.  Purple Finch
24.  Red-tailed Hawk 57.  Winter Wren 90.  White-winged Crossbill
25.  Sora 58.  Marsh Wren 91.  Pine Siskin
26.  Spotted Sandpiper 59.  Golden-crowned Kinglet 92.  Evening Grosbeak
27.  Lesser Yellowlegs 60.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet 93.  House Sparrow
28.  Franklin’s Gull 61.  Swainson’s Thrush
29.  Ring-billed Gull 62.  Hermit Thrush
30.  Common Tern 63.  American Robin
31.  Forester’s Tern 64.  Ovenbird
32.  Mourning Dove 65.  Northern Waterthrush
33.  Barred Owl 66.  Black-and-white Warbler