3rd Week of May – Beaver River, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia

Spectrogram of the Night Flight Call of the Common Yellowthroat

There was steady nocturnal migration this week. The weather continued as cold and wet but light south or southwest winds were prevalent during most nights of the week. In most years, the third week of May marks a time when many species are anxious to get to their breeding territories. Thus, there is often evidence that birds are more willing to cross the Gulf of Maine rather than crossing further up the Bay of Fundy. For example, this week there were several reports in the local social media of warblers appearing on fishing boats off the coast of Yarmouth.

The risk birds take in crossing large bodies of water like the Gulf of Maine, say from Portland, Maine, to Beaver River, was highlighted in a scientific article published this week in the journal, Ecology. A study of Tiger Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico found that 39% of the sharks had the remains of migratory songbirds in their stomachs. These findings indicate that sharks are scavenging large numbers of birds that fall to their death due exhaustion and other factors during their journey.

The most common species of the week was Ovenbird with an estimated total of 18 individual birds. There was a good representation of other warblers including Common Yellowthroat, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Northern Parula, Black-and-white Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Nashville Warbler, and Northern Waterthrush.

Sparrows included Savannah, Chipping, and White-throated. Shorebirds were represented by the local Willets and Spotted Sandpipers, and a small flock of migrating Sanderlings.


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