Posted | filed under Weekly Reports.

As promised, results are in for the Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory’s annual fundraiser: the Great Canadian Birdathon. If you feel out of the loop, during the Birdathon teams across Canada do a marathon of birding, trying to find as many bird species as possible within 24 hours to collect donations for their favourite local bird conservation groups.

Team Tanager photo

Above: Team Tanager scoping out the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation. Left to right: Wayne Bowles, Al Hovan, Sachi Schott, Bronwyn Robinson, and Robyn Perkins.

This year the LSLBO had two teams competing with each other. “Team Tanager” is our field staff plus two long term supporters, Wayne Bowles and Al Hovan. They covered the area around Slave Lake on May 21 after spending the morning working at the monitoring station. Their competition was Nicole and Richard Krikun, who ‘retired’ from the LSLBO in 2018. They competed as “Birders in the Park” and scoured areas west of Edmonton on May 23.

Team Tanager did well for itself and found 100 species (Table 1), surpassing their 2020 species total of 92. They had two highlights. The first was a stunning male Oregon Junco. Like the locally common Slate-coloured Junco, Oregon Juncos are a subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco. However, they are more commonly found west of the Rockies making them a rare find. The second highlight was a pair of Cinnamon Teal – a small duck that breeds in the prairies of Alberta and rarely ventures this far north.

Team Birders in the Park photo

Above: This year’s winners Birders in the Park. Nicole Krikun (left) and Richard Krikun (right) had a great jaunt in the Fort Assiniboine Sandhills Wildland.

Philadelphia Vireo in-hand

Above: This little fluffball of a Philadelphia Vireo was one of the four species of vireo found by Team Tanager during their Birdathon!

Nonetheless claiming the bragging rights was team Birders in the Park, who did even better with 106 species, although down from 136 in 2020. Highlights for them were plentiful and included Veery, Cape May Warbler, Western Grebe, Bay-breasted Warbler, Pectoral Sandpiper, and Bobolink!

As for what has been happening at the bird observatory over the past week, it has again been very slow and we have not seen much active migration. Canada Warblers and several other warbler species appear to be moving through the area in low numbers. Calmer and warmer weather has helped our capture rates by allowing us to have the nets open more frequently than the preceding week and 162 birds were banded. Some of which are beginning to show signs that eggs will soon be laid in nests hidden in every layer of the forest. So far this season, we have banded 418 birds from 40 species.

The LSLBO will continue to be closed to the public during the spring migration season, but you can keep up-to-date through both these articles and our Facebook page at “Lesser Slave Lake Bird Observatory”!

To congratulate Team Birders in the Park:

To offer condolences to Team Tanager:

By Robyn Perkins, LSLBO Bander-in-Charge



Table 1: Species observed by Team Tanager around Slave Lake (taxonomic order):

1.      Canada Goose

2.      American Wigeon

3.      Mallard

4.      Blue-winged Teal

5.      Northern Shoveler

6.      Green-winged Teal

7.      Cinnamon Teal

8.      Canvasback

9.      Ring-necked Duck

10.  Greater Scaup

11.  Lesser Scaup

12.  Surf Scoter

13.  White-winged Scoter

14.  Long-tailed Duck

15.  Bufflehead

16.  Common Goldeneye

17.  Common Merganser

18.  Red-breasted Merganser

19.  Ruffed Grouse

20.  Common Loon

21.  Pied-billed Grebe

22.  Red-necked Grebe

23.  Double-crested Cormorant

24.  American White Pelican

25.  Osprey

26.  Bald Eagle

27.  Sharp-shinned Hawk

28.  Red-tailed Hawk

29.  Sora

30.  American Coot

31.  Killdeer

32.  Spotted Sandpiper

33.  Solitary Sandpiper

34.  Franklin’s Gull

35.  Ring-billed Gull

36.  Common Tern

37.  Forster’s Tern

38.  Great Gray Owl

39.  Belted Kingfisher

40.  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

41.  Downy Woodpecker

42.  Hairy Woodpecker

43.  Merlin

44.  Alder Flycatcher

45.  Least Flycatcher

46.  Eastern Phoebe

47.  Blue-headed Vireo

48.  Warbling Vireo

49.  Philadelphia Vireo

50.  Red-eyed Vireo

51.  Gray Jay

52.  Blue Jay

53.  Black-billed Magpie

54.  American Crow

55.  Common Raven

56.  Tree Swallow

57.  Cliff Swallow

58.  Barn Swallow

59.  Black-capped Chickadee

60.  Red-breasted Nuthatch

61.  White-breasted Nuthatch

62.  Brown Creeper

63.  Ruby-crowned Kinglet

64.  Winter Wren

65.  Marsh Wren

66.  Swainson’s Thrush

67.  Hermit Thrush

68.  American Robin

69.  Ovenbird

70.  Northern Waterthrush

71.  Black-and-white Warbler

72.  Tennessee Warbler

73.  Common Yellowthroat

74.  American Redstart

75.  Magnolia Warbler

76.  Yellow Warbler

77.  Myrtle Warbler

78.  Black-throated Green Warbler

79.  Canada Warbler

80.  Chipping Sparrow

81.  Clay-colored Sparrow

82.  Savannah Sparrow

83.  Le Conte’s Sparrow

84.  Song Sparrow

85.  Lincoln’s Sparrow

86.  Swamp Sparrow

87.  White-throated Sparrow

88.  White-crowned Sparrow

89.  Oregon Junco

90.  Western Tanager

91.  Rose-breasted Grosbeak

92.  Red-winged Blackbird

93.  Brewer’s Blackbird

94.  Common Grackle

95.  Brown-headed Cowbird

96.  Baltimore Oriole

97.  Purple Finch

98.  Pine Siskin

99.  Evening Grosbeak

100.  House Sparrow