12 June, 2024

The first week of June marked the end of spring monitoring projects at three sites: the Cap-Tourmente National Wildlife Area in Saint-Joachim, the Maison de la Mer in Les Bergeronnes, and the Dunes de Tadoussac. Here is a brief summary of these projects.

An exceptional site for research and education

The migration monitoring project at the Cap Tourmente NWA ran from April 23 to June 4, for the second year running. Nearly 30 volunteers helped us this spring to band 3609 birds of 74 species. In addition to the usual measurements, some sampling was also carried out to gain a better understanding of their wintering grounds. This is part of a joint project with the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network and Environment Canada.

This year also confirmed the site’s strategic importance for monitoring spring migration, with over 50 bird species observed or captured in sufficient numbers to determine a population trend.

Of particular note: an exceptional movement of Slaty Juncos, with over 10,000 individuals moving southwest on April 28, and the banding of a rare Field Sparrow and the first Brown-headed Cowbird for the observatory.

Photo: A superb male Blackburnian Warbler.

This project was carried out with the financial support of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

A riverside training facility

The neotropical passerine migration monitoring project at the Maison de la Mer in Les Bergeronnes ran from May 13 to June 6. In addition to hosting three interns and two volunteers, the team welcomed four school groups to learn more about migration and banding.

With 673 birds of 52 species, 2024 was the year with the fewest captures at the station. The cause? It’s still hard to say, but the exceptional conditions seemed to be conducive to early migration and settlement of birds on their nesting sites. Whereas several hundred sparrows and finches were usually captured in previous years, they quickly left the site soon after the project began. Nevertheless, the team took the opportunity to reinforce its knowledge of birds molt, passerine age and bird identification at the site.

Photo: The team at the Bergeronnes banding station.

This project was carried out with the financial support of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Warblers by the thousands!

The reverse migration monitoring project ran from May 5 to June 6. This project was also part of the trainees’ training, in addition to providing important information on this spectacular phenomenon observed at Tadoussac.

While an initial interesting movement of a thousand Purple Finches was noted at the end of April, it wasn’t until May 14, followed by May 20, that we witnessed two major movements of over 10,000 warblers moving southwest. Smaller numbers were also seen on the 25th and 29th, which also saw several thousand passerines (including almost 4,000 Cedar Waxwings on the latter day).

All in all, weather conditions were favorable for a smooth migration to nesting sites. As for the river, it seemed to be particularly active this year, with the presence of several tens of thousands of Long-tailed Ducks, Laridae (gulls and terns) and a superb Pacific Loon.

Photo: A male Bay-breasted Warbler made a brief stop at the Dunes de Tadoussac before continuing its migration.

This project was carried out with the financial support of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the material support of Zeiss.

These research projects have also enabled us to reach several thousand people, via our social networks and on site, to share our knowledge of avian species. Other projects are also underway to raise awareness of these important sites:

Thibaut Quinchon, sound artist, has begun a documentary.

Matt Aeberhard, one of the world’s leading wildlife filmmakers, accompanied by Ian Davies and Andrew Johnson from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology came to witness and document this impressive phenomenon.