There are 63 species covered by this volume (full
listing in Species Search).
Of these, 51 had at least one
record of an encounter more than 100 km from the site
of banding, thereby meriting a full species account.
For the species covered in this volume, there
were 234736 individuals banded in Canada between
1955 and 1995. Of these, 6980 were later encountered,
for an overall encounter rate of 0.3%. However, this
rate includes 11 species for which there were no
encounters at all between 1955 and 1995, including
secretive marsh birds such as Least Bittern and Sora,
as well as several small owl species. Ironically, the
highest encounter rate for any species was for King
Rail, with one encounter out of only three birds
banded. Encounter rates were >1% for most other
species and on the order of 5–10% for the larger
raptors, herons, and owls.
The birds covered by this volume are generally
large and therefore conspicuous when dead, so it is not
surprising that their encounter rates are relatively high.
Reports from South America, in particular, are much
more common in this volume than in the volume
covering small songbirds (Brewer et al. 2000).
Banding effort for many of the species covered
here has increased greatly over time, rising from under
12000 individuals banded during 1955–1965 to over
100000 during 1986–1995. Some of the largest
increases are in species captured at raptor migration
stations, whereas others reflect increased study of
particular species (e.g., Burrowing Owl) or increased
population size (e.g., Merlin). Encounter rates often
have not kept pace, as has also been found for small
landbirds (Dunn 2001).
In addition to the 6980 encounters of birds
banded in Canada between 1955 and 1995, this volume
includes 828 encounters of birds banded from 1921 to
1955 and another 1173 records for birds banded in
other countries but encountered in Canada.
Words cannot describe the labour of our
second visit. Every step in the sticky
ooze…was an effort to begin with, but
towards the end it felt as though 50 lb
weights were tied to our feet… Each band
placed that day involved mental as well as
physical effort and one bander after another
dropped out from sheer exhaustion; by
eleven o'clock the effort had automatically
come to a conclusion. The last bander was
played out…. Five of us, in spite of all
handicaps and unexpected difficulties,
placed over 500 bands each in five hours.
The main fall migration routes of passerines
(Brewer et al. 2000) are southward from British
Columbia along the Pacific coast, southeast from the
Prairie provinces towards the southeastern United
States, and southwestward from the Maritime
provinces (also towards the U.S. southeast). Ontario
forms a transition zone between east and west. By
contrast, hawks from the Prairie provinces move much
more directly south through the U.S. Great Plains,
where conditions for open-country hunters are much
more congenial than they are for woodland songbirds.
Some owls also follow regular migratory paths, but
others show a high degree of wandering (such as
Snowy Owl). Most raptors are reluctant to fly over
water, and this volume includes many records that
demonstrate movement around the edges of the Great
Lakes rather than directly across.
Waterbirds, the last group of species covered by
this volume, often have migration patterns distinct
from those of raptors, in part because they are
following (or heading towards) large water bodies used
for stopover or as wintering areas. Western Grebe is
perhaps the most striking example, with birds from
Manitoba heading towards the Pacific coast — one of
the few North American species that regularly migrates
across the Rocky Mountain chain. Cranes and some
herons (e.g., Great Blue Heron), however, typically
migrate through the U.S. Great Plains, just as hawks do.
This volume lists many individual records of
birds encountered at some distance within a few days
of banding, including a Sharp-shinned Hawk that
travelled 169 km between two captures on a single
day. The maximum distance between banding and
encounter location of any individual of a species
included in this volume was 12807 km, for a Peregrine
Falcon banded in the Yukon as a chick and recovered
in Argentina 15 months later.
Dunn, E. H., A. D. Brewer, A. W. Diamond, E. J. Woodsworth, and B. T. Collins. 2009.
Canadian Atlas of Bird Banding, Volume 3: Raptors and Waterbirds, 1921-1995.
Canadian Wildlife Service Special Publication. Available from Environment Canada.