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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Albert Creek Bird Observatory Update - April 29, 2012

The Albert Creek Bird Observatory began it's 12th consecutive spring season of operation on April 21st. The first two days were quite slow with just a few birds banded and very few observed. The weather was beautiful but cold. On the 23rd we witnessed a big wave of sparrows move in and ended up with 120 banded most of which were American Tree Sparrows. On the 26th we estimated 130 Rusty Blackbirds at the site; a new record for ACBO ! On the 28th we had our first day of Tundra Swan movement estimating just over 400. The big news was the reapperance of the notorious Barred Owl first heard by Susan Drury on April 19th and has been heard hooting on most days since. An other welcomed return was a Pileated Woodpecker spotted by Matt Clarke on April 16th. Unfortunately we have not detected it since.

Our biggest challenge this week was dealing with the very unstable weather. We were forced to open nets late on a few days due to severe cold in the early morning and we had to run one day as a non-standard day due to snow.  We did not operate at all on April 27th due to snow and rain which persisted throughout most of the day. All in all we had a productive week and are looking forward to better weather. Many thanks to Susan Drury for volunteering for the entire week and Chris Nemeth who came down one day and may return. Thanks also goes out to Ryan Drummond and Barry Drury for providing logistical help. Also thank you to Gerry Whitley for transporting the travel trailer to Watson Lake to accomodate the Bander In Charge.

Birds banded April 21st - 28th inclusive

Wilson's Snipe - 1
Boreal Chickadee - 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 24
Myrtle Warbler - 4
American Tree Sparrow - 265
Savannah Sparrow - 2
Fox Sparrow - 12
Lincoln's Sparrow - 5
Gambel's White crowned Sparrow - 3
Slate-colored Junco - 135
Rusty Blackbird - 21
Common Redpoll - 2

Season total = 476 birds of 12 species

Setting up mist nets and clearing the board walks

Setting up mist nets and clearing the board walks

male Rusty Blackbird

Wilson's Snipe

100 + Rusty Blackbirds observed near the banding table

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Yukon Bird Observatories Opening Soon !

Within the next few weeks, two of the Yukon Bird Observatory field stations will be opening.  Details on the operational schedule for the stations is shown below.  Note that both stations are always open to the public and if you are interested in birds, we strongly recommended that you drop by to visit us.  We are also accepting volunteers who would like to learn how to handle/band the birds or simply help accepting visitors, recording bird observations or scribed data. 


The Albert Creek station is located at Upper Liard, approximately 15 km west of Watson Lake, YT.  To access the station, drive into the Albert Creek subdivision; this is the first turnoff on the south side of the Alaska Highway on the Whitehorse side of the Albert Creek bridge.  Once in the subdivision, continue approximately 500 m down the gravel road and follow the short dirt track down to the station.  Note that depending on weather conditions, you may be required to walk a short distance to the station.  Also, there is no turn around for large vehicles (RVs) at the end of the road.

The station will be open daily from April 24 to June 7 with the hours of operation beginning at official sunrise and continuing for 6 hours.  For more information on Albert Creek, please contact Ted Murphy-Kelly via email at or phone 335-1518.


The McIntyre Marsh station is located at km 4 of the Fish Lake Road within the City of Whitehorse.  Parking for station visitors is at the large parking lot of the Fish Lake Road and the Copper Haul Road.  From the parking lot, the station is access by a short walk (100 m) down the Copper Haul Road; take the foot trail which follows the marsh on the right hand side of the trail.

The station will be open on weekends and holidays from April 28 until the end of May with the hours of operation being 7 am to noon.  For more information on McIntyre Marsh, please email Ben Schonewille at .


The Teslin Lake station does not operate during the spring season. The fall season will begin on July 23 and extend until the end of September or later dependent on funding.

Slate-colored Junco - one of the first migratory songbirds to arrive in spring