A number of banding projects are conducted on an ongoing basis in Timiskaming District. The annual results of these banding programs are reported on the notes pages for each individual species. It is important to note that, due to a variety of factors including weather and the availability of banders, banding effort can vary widely from year to year. When reviewing the banding results for any given species, remember that change in the number of birds banded from year to year generally does not reflect changes in the actual abundance of that species in Timiskaming District, but is more directly related to changes in banding effort from year to year. In only some cases, such as for some of the irruptive winter finches, do banding statistics from a single site yield any useful information on local population changes in Timiskaming unless many other factors are taken into account. Such factors include the amount of banding effort in a given year, the timing of the effort, the weather, the species targeted for banding, the locations of the nets, and the methods used to attract birds to the banding area such as the seed type and volume and whether the seed was continuously available between banding sessions.
at the Hilliardton Marsh Provincial Wildlife Area began in 1996, and has been
conducted annually since then. Banding at "The Marsh" is focused
on spring and fall migrations, and seldom operates at other times of the year.
There are several sub-stations at the Marsh. The main banding site is at
the south entrance to the Marsh, where feeders are maintained and a banding
shack has been erected. A second sub-station was established at the north
end of the Marsh.
Banding efforts are conducted by Bruce Murphy and his TERRA students from TDSS
The Marsh has also become a popular banding demonstration area, with classes of students from area grade schools coming out to observe bird banding in action, get a chance to handle the birds, and learn about the value of population monitoring.
A special effort is also made each fall to conduct night banding of small nocturnal owls such as the Saw-whet Owl and the Boreal Owl. Recordings of their calls are used to attract the owls to the banding area. Banding efforts of these species are greatly enhancing our knowledge of both regular and irruptive movements of these birds - movements that were completely unknown just a few years ago.
Mountain Chutes Banding Station is operated as a sub-station of the Timiskaming Banding Group. All of the banding is done in the back yard of Mountain Chutes Camp on the Montreal River in Barber Township, mostly at feeders. Banding is conducted year round under a standardized protocol. Bruce Murphy and his TERRA students banded a few birds at Mountain Chutes in 1998 and 1999. Full time banding by Barry Kinch was begun in 2000.
HIGHLIGHTS of banding operations at Mountain Chutes.
The Gillies Banding Station is another site operated as a sub-station of the Timiskaming Banding Group. Banding is conducted in the yard of Bruce Murphy's residence on the southwest shore of Gillies Lake in Coleman Township, mostly at feeders. Banding was begun at the Gillies Banding Station in 1990, making it the first banding station established in Timiskaming, and the longest running. Banding at this site is carried out throughout the year as time permits. During spring and fall migrations, the TERRA students also assist in banding at this location.
Duck banding by MNR biologists began in Timiskaming District in 1996 using a special fan driven swamp boat. This is part of a province-wide duck banding program, and the air boat is only in Timiskaming for a short period of time each year. Banding is conducted in either late August or early September, and is done in early morning or late evening when the ducks are not inclined to take flight.
Boat banding has taken place at a number of different sites in Timiskaming. The
table below indicates which locations have been used in each year of the
Of note is the fact that the Hilliardton Marsh site has the most waterfowl diversity of any of the air boat banding sites used by the MNR throughout Ontario, and is the only site where Ruddy Ducks are regularly captured.
For the purposes of reporting capture results, all air boat locations in Timiskaming District have been grouped under the name "MNR Air Boat" in the banding results section of the individual species pages. A more detailed breakdown of the data by specific site and date is available upon request. Thanks are due to the coordinators of the MNR air boat duck banding program for making this information available.