Cross-Country (SNBU) Checkup- January 25th- First Snow Buntings at Kern’s and some interesting retraps!

First Snow Bunting banded at Kern’s! Good job guys!


We are happy to report that the Kerns School of Flock is back in business!

Our first bird was caught on January 16th. The only bird caught that day. After 7 days of banding the Kerns kids have caught 48 birds, which is not so bad considering we have only been setting our traps for a maximum of 2 hours a day.  We plan to extend our trapping hours as the birds become less skiddish and more plentiful. Right now we have a flock of about 150-200 birds.  Another bit of exciting news is that we recaptured a bird that we banded back on January 29th 2013. It was originally banded as an ASY M.
IMG_5660kerns banding

Joanne Goddard, Temiskaming

Hello Marie-Pier:

I hope all is well with your Snow Bunting banding. It is reasonable here, but the lack of snow cover means we started off quite slowly…. but things are picking up (David had banded around 1700 birds back on January 22nd). However, I did have an interesting Snow Bunting retrap that I thought would interest you.
As you probably know, the oldest Snow Bunting in the banding record is 8 years old. I have one now that matches that. I suspect as we continue the network, we will inevitably break to longevity record.
However, on January 25, 2009 I banded an ASY-M Snow Bunting — 2331-48762………… so this fellow was hatched in 2007 or earlier. I did not retrap the little guy in 2009.
However, I did retrap him twice in 2010, three times in 2011……… but he did not come back in 2012…….. however he showed up once in 2013 and three times in 2014. Interestingly , on January 25, 2015 he visited me again………… making him at least 8 years old ( although technically he is really a minimum of 7.5 years old).
Thought this might interest you……………….. David Lamble, Fergus



Migration is finally over in Southern Quebec, the snow cover is high enough now and the majority of the birds have moved south. We are starting to see more recaptures in our flocks and less movement between the sites.


During the period, 106 SNBU were banded. There were two good days on Jan 12 and Jan 18 with 24 and 23 birds banded. Other residents/photographers have been spreading seeds near our catching site so the birds have plenty of options to choose from. Our success should increase once we get another dump of snow.

Some interesting recaps at Mirabel included:

-1 SNBU banded by Marie-Pier Laplante in Cookshire-Eaton (approx. 190 km north-north-east) last winter.

-1 SNBU banded in Mirabel on January 19 2013 recaptured on exactly the same date, two years later

-2 SNBU banded in St-Roch, 1 from last winter, and 1 from 15 days before.

Mirabel season total: 632 SNBU, 5 LALO and 1 HOLA


 From Jan 15 to 25, 185 SNBU and 2 LALO were banded. There was no real peak during the period, just a steady flow of overwintering birds. The flock at St-Roch has been between 20 and 80 birds everyday but the birds seems less hungry than a month ago. In the last couple of days, we noticed that the fat levels are going down, which also suggests that although there will be small movements during the winter; the big long-distance migration is pretty much over.

Some interesting recaps at St-Roch included:

-4 individuals banded in Mirabel this winter that came back 30 km north, including one that was banded on November 21, 2014, where was it during all this time?

St-Roch Season total: 818 SNBU and 6 LALO


 During the period (Jan 11 to Jan 25), Coteau was our busiest of the three sites with 209 SNBU, 10 HOLA and 3 LALO banded. There is all sorts of drama going on at Coteau. There are reports of Snowy Owls being poached in the area. As a results, the police as stopped us twice to ask what we were doing. There are also hunters who are making trapping very difficult as they hang out around within 20 meters of our bait site. On the positive side, the 1 SOSP banded in December is still hanging around on a daily basis, he’s now become a master at going in and out of the traps without being caught!!

Some interesting recaps at Coteau-du-lac included:

-1 LALO recaptured 8 times since January 14

-1 SNBU banded last year at Coteau-du-lac

-1 SNBU banded in December 2014 in St-Roch

Coteau-du-lac Season total: 351 SNBU, 34 HOLA, 15 LALO and 1 SOSP

So this brings our Southern Quebec Teams to a total of 1801 SNBU banded. We are hoping to break last year’s record season of 2057 SNBU in the first few days of February!

Simon Duval, The Migration Research Foundation

For my part, there are plenty of birds, but the trapping does not work as well as I would hope. I’m putting in a lot of effort for a very few birds caught. With the rain we had last week, the field is still half-covered with snow… I did band a few more, which makes my total to about 70. But the good news is, it’s fun anyways.


Photo: MP Laplante





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