Posted | filed under Weekly Reports.

On May 17, Team Tanager of the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory participated in the Great Canadian Birdathon fundraiser. Teammates Wayne Bowles, Robyn Perkins, Bronwyn Robinson, and first-timer Sarahanne Thompson spent the morning at the migration monitoring station before heading out to tour a few hotspots nearby.

The bird observatory did quite well with 73 species spotted before we closed the nets. The highlight from the station was the spring’s first encounter of a singing Bay-breasted Warbler. This species prefers old growth forest and is unlikely to nest around the station.

After visiting some ponds between the park and town, we were able to add Sora, Ring-necked Duck, and Green-winged Teal to our list before trekking into muskeg to find Sandhill Cranes. Though we did find the cranes, we could not find the Sharp-tailed Grouse, Canada Jays, or Dark-eyed Juncos we were hoping to add as well.

Above: Team Tanager assembled for their Birdathon. From left to right: Wayne Bowles, Robyn Perkins, Bronwyn Robinson, and Sarahanne Thompson.

The last big site was a pond which I have never seen this low – it even has mudflats. Here we found Vesper Sparrows replacing the LeConte’s Sparrows and Marsh Wrens we had been hoping to find, and Least Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, and Whimbrel on the newfound mudflats. I’m sure there were more species there, but the afternoon heatwaves and thick smoke conspired to make identification impossible for most of these blurry impressions of birds. Overall, our afternoon hotspots were underwhelming, but Team Tanager was still able to find 94 bird species beating out their 2022’s 92 species!

On their big day, May 20, Richard and Nicole Krikun of Team Birders in the Park had more success. Touring around Southern Alberta from Cypress Hills Provincial Park to Dinosaur Provincial Park, they found 99 species with many observations that would have been thrilling for our northern team. Their highlights included Burrowing Owl and a Dusky Flycatcher!

This annual fundraiser so far has raised $420 for the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory between the two teams. If you would like to congratulate our teams on a job well done, our donation links are still open and tax-deductible. If you would like to experience what we do first-hand, drop by for our 26annual Songbird Festival with fun activities at the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation on Saturday, May 27, or register for the Bird Run/Walk (5K/10K) on Sunday, May 28.

Above: Our fourth ever Vesper Sparrow was captured May 24, 2023.

The rest of the week has been quiet with minimal overhead migration and only Chipping and Clay-coloured Sparrows seemingly on the move. Some of these low flying birds found the nets and have brought our spring’s banding total to 495 birds of 38 species, including our fourth ever Vesper Sparrow! With just two and a half weeks to go of spring monitoring, we are on the low end for captures and well below our spring average of 949 birds banded per spring.

By Robyn Perkins, LSLBO Bander-in-Charge


1.      Canada Goose33.   Franklin’s Gull65.   Ovenbird
2.      Trumpeter Swan34.   Ring-billed Gull66.   Northern Waterthrush
3.      American Wigeon35.   Common Tern67.   Black-and-white Warbler
4.      Mallard36.   Forster’s Tern68.   Tennessee Warbler
5.      Blue-winged Teal37.   Belted Kingfisher69.   Common Yellowthroat
6.      Northern Shoveler38.   Downy Woodpecker70.   American Redstart
7.      Green-winged Teal39.   Yellow-shafted Flicker71.   Bay-breasted Warbler
8.      Ring-necked Duck40.   Pileated Woodpecker72.   Yellow Warbler
9.      Surf Scoter41.   Merlin73.   Western Palm Warbler
10.   Long-tailed Duck42.   Alder Flycatcher74.   Myrtle Warbler
11.   Bufflehead43.   Least Flycatcher75.   Black-throated Green Warbler
12.   Common Goldeneye44.   Eastern Phoebe76.   White-crowned Sparrow
13.   Common Merganser45.   Blue-headed Vireo77.   Chipping Sparrow
14.   Red-breasted Merganser46.   Blue Jay78.   Clay-colored Sparrow
15.   Ruffed Grouse47.   Black-billed Magpie79.   Vesper Sparrow
16.   Common Loon48.   American Crow80.   Savannah Sparrow
17.   Red-necked Grebe49.   Common Raven81.   Song Sparrow
18.   American White Pelican50.   Tree Swallow82.   Lincoln’s Sparrow
19.   Bald Eagle51.   Barn Swallow83.   Swamp Sparrow
20.   Northern Harrier52.   Black-capped Chickadee84.   White-throated Sparrow
21.   Sora53.   Red-breasted Nuthatch85.   Western Tanager
22.   Sandhill Crane54.   White-breasted Nuthatch86.   Rose-breasted Grosbeak
23.   Semipalmated Plover55.   House Wren87.   Red-winged Blackbird
24.   Killdeer56.   Winter Wren88.   Brewer’s Blackbird
25.   Spotted Sandpiper57.   Ruby-crowned Kinglet89.   Common Grackle
26.   Solitary Sandpiper58.   Townsend’s Solitaire90.   Brown-headed Cowbird
27.   Greater Yellowlegs59.   Swainson’s Thrush91.   Purple Finch
28.   Lesser Yellowlegs60.   Hermit Thrush92.   Pine Siskin
29.   Whimbrel61.   American Robin93.   Evening Grosbeak
30.   Least Sandpiper62.   European Starling94.   House Sparrow
31.   Baird’s Sandpiper63.   American Pipit
32.   Semipalmated Sandpiper64.   Lapland Longspur


1.      Canada Goose34.   Ring-billed Gull67.   Cliff Swallow
2.      Wood Duck35.   California Gull68.   Red-breasted Nuthatch
3.      Blue-winged Teal36.   Common Tern69.   Rock Wren
4.      Northern Shoveler37.   Forster’s Tern70.   House Wren
5.      Gadwall38.   Double-crested Cormorant71.   Gray Catbird
6.      American Wigeon39.   American White Pelican72.   Brown Thrasher
7.      Mallard40.   Great Blue Heron73.   European Starling
8.      Northern Pintail41.   Turkey Vulture74.   Mountain Bluebird
9.      American Green-winged Teal42.   Northern Harrier75.   American Robin
10.   Canvasback43.   Bald Eagle76.   House Sparrow
11.   Redhead44.   Swainson’s Hawk77.   House Finch
12.   Lesser Scaup45.   Red-tailed Hawk78.   Red Crossbill
13.   Bufflehead46.   Burrowing Owl79.   American Goldfinch
14.   Common Goldeneye47.   Belted Kingfisher80.   Chestnut-collared Longspur
15.   Common Merganser48.   Red-naped Sapsucker81.   Lark Sparrow
16.   Gray Partridge49.   Hairy Woodpecker82.   Chipping Sparrow
17.   Ruffed Grouse50.   Northern Flicker83.   Clay-coloured Sparrow
18.   Ring-necked Pheasant51.   Western Kingbird84.   “Slate-coloured” Junco
19.   Red-necked Grebe52.   Eastern Kingbird85.   White-crowned Sparrow
20.   Eared Grebe53.   Least Flycatcher86.   Vesper Sparrow
21.   Western Grebe54.   Dusky Flycatcher87.   Savannah Sparrow
22.   Rock Pigeon55.   Say’s Phoebe88.   Song Sparrow
23.   Eurasian Collared Dove56.   Loggerhead Shrike89.   Lincoln’s Sparrow
24.   Mourning Dove57.   Black-billed Magpie90.   Spotted Towhee
25.   Sora58.   American Crow91.   Yellow-headed Blackbird
26.   American Coot59.   Common Raven92.   Western Meadowlark
27.   Killdeer60.   Black-capped Chickadee93.   Baltimore Oriole
28.   Marbled Godwit61.   Horned Lark94.   Red-winged Blackbird
29.   Wilson’s Snipe62.   Bank Swallow95.   Brown-headed Cowbird
30.   Spotted Sandpiper63.   Tree Swallow96.   Brewer’s Blackbird
31.   Willet64.   Violet-green Swallow97.   Common Grackle
32.   Wilson’s Phalarope65.   Northern Rough-winged Swallow98.   Yellow Warbler
33.   Franklin’s Gull66.   Barn Swallow99.   “Audubon’s” Warbler